telkom thumb100 Business Report writes that the SA Communication Union (Sacu) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU) have filed an urgent application in the Labour Court to compel Telkom to properly carry out consultations prior to embarking on retrenchments.  

In their court papers, the unions accused Telkom of unilaterally consulting directly with members of Sacu and CWU on voluntary severance packages (VSPs) and voluntary early retirement packages (VERPs), thus deviating from an agreement that such consultation would be with the unions.  Telkom has reorganised its operations which has led to the possibility of large-scale job losses estimated to affect more than 6,000 employees, according to the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa).  The federation accused Telkom of practising “extreme bad faith in negotiations and blatant underhandedness” with organised labour alliance partners during talks held last week aimed at finding alternatives to the retrenchments.  Fedusa said through the CCMA-mediated talks it became clear to Sacu and the CWU, among other labour formations, that Telkom’s leadership had no desire to find an alternative to retrenchments, and instead wished to remove staff and further “cannibalise” the company to inflate their bonuses.  The Information Communications and Technology Union (ICTU) said management claimed - without showing evidence for their argument - that technological advancement was the reason for customer and revenue decline.  The union called for the board to be disbanded.  Telkom has disputed the unions’ allegations.

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