A David and Goliath battle is taking place at Telkom, the country’s biggest fixed-line telephone group, which has allegedly resorted to dirty tricks against a union seeking recognition of their rights.
The union leadership has been charged for various baseless allegations relating to union recognition, according to Thabang Mothelo, spokesperson of the Information Communication and Technology Union (ICTU) in an internal memo, seen by TechFinancials.
The ICTU – an affiliate of the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) led by Zwelinzima Vavi – has been seeking recognition at Telkom since 2017.
The union – which has fought a more than two years battle for recognition at the telco – claims the sore point for Telkom, is the labour court judgment on the 16 November 2017 which directed “the union and the employer to conduct verification exercise within 30 days” in order to grant ICTU Recognition rights.
“To this end, Telkom has used all tricks in the devil’s book to frustrate this court directive and their final straw was to charge various leaders of the Union.,” wrote Mothelo in the internal memo.
Telkom did not respond to queries on the matter since this morning.
Mothelo added the ICTU is adamant that its existence is not in the behest of individuals or being in the back-pocket like the other union.
The other union could only imply, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) – affiliated to COSATU and the ruling party, the African National Congress.
“The union existence lies with its membership and compliance with the law,” Mothelo explained.
“We expect that the next trip for the shenanigans will be to speak softly to Department of Labour, to try and any influence union de-recognition. Should they fail, all else would have failed.
“ICTU will uphold its revolutionary character. We make no threats but if we can’t meet with Telkom in the boardroom or in court then we shall meet in hell or heaven if that is the place to get our rights.”
The relentless attack on ICTU, as an organization, its leadership and membership has been ongoing for a long time and soon, very soon it will end abruptly, the ICTU internal memo reads.
“These relentless attacks are part of a strategy to destabilize and ultimately eradicate the union within. This wish, concocted by forces of darkness, will not see the light of the day. We say come hell or high water; we shall succeed. The union is within its legal right to exist.”
The internal memo states that ICTU has been operating for the past eight years having its first membership in Telkom.
“For over eight years the Unions character has been tested and it remains steadfast until this day. Our resounding and resolute position is that any management may wish us away, but the law will remain triumphant in the end,” reads the internal memo.
“Ours is to communicate that despite allegations levelled against the leadership, we remain true to our promise that we will change the current state of Telkom & BCX salaries, fight to reinstate eroded benefits for the workers.
“We take comfort in knowing that “In the struggle to change black people’s lives for the better, it is black people themselves who are going to be your fierce opponent”.