Trade union Solidarity has launched an attack on Telkom for planning to fire 3,000 employees after paying its executive team more than R100 million.
Telkom recently announced that it is planning to cut as many as 3,000 jobs across the company and has served unions with letters regarding the Section 189 process.
“Telkom will continue to consult with the unions, and it is our hope that through considered engagement with the unions, we will come to a mutually beneficial solution,” the company said.
This announcement did not go down well with unions, with the Communications Workers Union (CWU) vowing to fight the planned job cuts.
Solidarity has now joined the CWU in condemning the planned job cuts, saying it has requested a moratorium on Telkom retrenchments.
“Retrenchments become necessary when the sustainability of a company is at issue, but this retrenchment round in fact threatens the company’s financial sustainability,” it said.
The trade union added that a company cannot pay its executive team more than R100 million and then get rid of 3,000 of its workforce.
It added that Telkom’s CEO Sipho Maseko alone took home “a full R23 million” in the previous financial year.
“That is reckless and, given the labour market retrenched workers have to face, it is merciless,” said Solidarity.
Solidarity has requested for an aggressive retraining programme to be implemented during the moratorium so workers can be equipped with new skills to help Telkom grow in the fast-changing information environment.
“Telkom workers must move forward with the company from fixed-line services to mobile services,” the union said.
Solidarity CEO Dirk Hermann said the fact that Telkom now wants to retrench up to 3,000 people shows that the company has failed dismally to retrain its people.
“When a company fails to train its workforce for new challenges, it should not retrench the workers; it should get rid of the top management,” said Hermann.
Hermann added that large-scale staff reductions at a company can easily lead to poor service delivery.
“A further 3,000 jobs being cut are too many. If staff numbers need to be reduced further, it can be done by means of voluntary processes and natural staff turnover,” Hermann added.
“The uncertainty Telkom is creating will merely result in the best workers leaving first. This can lead to the company going into a downward spiral.”