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Telkom to cut 4,400 jobs

Telkom says it will offer voluntary compensation & early retirement packages to the retrenched people.

Telkom says it’s looking to cut 4,400 jobs while 3,400 employees will be redirected through outsourcing or business development. Picture: Telkom website.

JOHANNESBURG - Telkom says it's looking to cut 4,400 jobs, while 3,400 employees will be redirected through outsourcing or business development, in a bid to ensure sustainability.

The telecommunications company says this is the latest phase in its turnaround strategy, implemented two years ago, and it's done everything possible to avoid the retrenchments, including restructuring management.

It says it is planning to work with organised labour to make the shift by offering voluntary compensation and early retirement packages to the 4,400 people who could be retrenched.

Telkom's Jacqui O'Sullivan says a further 3,400 will be offered assistance in the outsourcing of their skills to external companies to be used by Telkom or to start up their own business.

"In total we are looking at a reduction which we believe will be achieved through accommodation of voluntary packages and voluntary early retirements, then the potential retrenchments of 4,400."

O'Sullivan added: "[We've] taken a number of steps to contain costs; it's tackled management, and made sure that we've reduced management levels. It's renegotiated contracts. So Telkom has done - over the last two years - a lot of turn-around action."

However, Trade Union Solidarity's Marius Croucamp says the number of retrenchments could be higher and happen in a very short timeframe.

"Something needs to happen but the timeline of this announcement has taken everybody by surprise. We had discussions with the CEO over the weekend but the actual numbers and details were given to us this morning."

CWU OFFERS TELKOM SEVERANCE PACKAGES TO ITS MEMBERS

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) in April said while it was firmly opposed to Telkom's offers of outsourcing and voluntary severance packages, it agreed to take the offers to its members.

At the time the union, which represents the majority of workers at Telkom, declared it was planning a total shutdown of the parastatal in a bid to protect 1,300 workers who were set to lose their jobs.

Telkom said the restructuring process was necessary and fair.

The CWU said it was accepting the lesser of two evils in its negotiations with Telkom and warned the company that it would only accept the outsourcing of its members on its own terms.

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