By Gugu Lourie
More than 2, 300 employees at the country’s fixed-line telephone group Telkom have accepted voluntary severance packages, trade union Solidarity said late on Thursday.
Solidarity said Telkom has approved 2, 293 applications for voluntary severance packages and added that these employees’ services will officially end tomorrow.
Marius Croucamp, Solidarity spokesman, said this number of applications comes as no surprise to the union.
“Given the volatile climate within Telkom, we anticipated that a significant amount of employees would prefer to leave the company. Nonetheless, we remain highly concerned about the exodus of skilled Telkom workers and how this will affect the company’s future endeavours and delivery of services,” Croucamp said.
Under pressure because of the need to continue reviving itself, Telkom is moving ahead with its cost-cutting push despite opposition from three trade unions.
The company was forced to halt its Section 189 retrenchment process to cut 4 400 jobs and move 3 200 people to outsourced businesses after the unions went to court.
But the company will now look at alternative ways to cut costs. These measures include voluntary retrenchment, the introduction of flexitime and a possible wage freeze, Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko, said two weeks ago.
Telkom will offer Voluntary Severance Pacakages and Voluntary Early Retirement Packages to nonunionised members, who account for 40% to 45% of its workforce.