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3000 face losing jobs as Telkom issues notices to trade unions

Telkom is the latest company in a long line to announce the potential retrenchment of approximately 20% employees. Here's what we know.

As reported by Money Web, approximately 3 000 employees will be affected. This follows after Telkom served trade unions with section 189 notices on Wednesday 15 January 2020.

Notices to be served to Openserve employees

Telkom has a work-force of approximately 15 000, and the notices will be issued to employees in the company’s Openserve division, as well as its consumer business.

The telecoms giant confirmed the news to Newzroom Afrika and according to a Telkom spokesperson, the section 189 notices “commences a consultation process.”

Telkom announced back in July 2019 that it would decommission its copper network and move to newer wireless alternatives, such as fibre, which is easier to maintain.

Approximately 8 600 of Telkom’s employees moved to Openserve when the division was launched in October 2015. At the time, it was said to “take its procurement function to new heights”.

“Openserve is a division of the Telkom Group and it has been instrumental in enabling connectivity across South Africa and its borders. Our mission is to be the connectivity provider of choice and enable a data-driven ecosystem. For us, it’s been important to drive a performance-based culture where ‘doing what’s right’ for the client, customer and the company takes precedence over anything else. I am proud to say that we have created a strong foundation to build on”.

 Chief Procurement and Contracts Officer, Benjamin van Zyl , 30 July 2018.

Communication Workers Union speaks out

According to eNCA’s Heidi Giokos, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) says consultations with workers will commence from 23 January 2020, adding that the CWU is willing to “go on strike to stop the cutting of jobs”.

“CWU tells eNCA it wants a full explanation as to why job cuts is the only option for Telkom and why is there so much outsourcing at the telecoms company. CWU [is] willing to camp outside Luthuli House.”

The union “wants to establish if job cuts are really the only option”. In addition, Telkom workers have allegedly not received a salary increase in three years.

South Africans react to the news

Netizens have taken to social media to air their views. One user, Lesetja, pointed out there is “nothing prosperous about 2020”, and added:

“[This] shows that [Telkom] rested on its laurels whilst the competition adapted to change through innovation.”

Ntando Thukwana added that the “joblessness crisis keeps deepening”, while Antonio believes that “unions have failed dismally”. He explained:

“Unions in South Africa are not organised to help the working class. They are reactive instead of proactive. Always to late to know when things are wrong and to help the workers transition in time.”

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