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CWU vows to fight Telkom retrenchments

Telkom said it will would with unions as it planned to push ahead with job cuts.

FILE: The union says Telkom’s workforce contradicts the state plan to create jobs. Picture: Telkom website.

JOHANNESBURG - The Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Wednesday vowed to fight the retrenchment of more than 4,000 workers by state owned Telkom and said if it went ahead the blame should be laid at government's doorstep.

The union called on government to step in urgently insisting the decision to cut Telkom's workforce contradicts the state plan to create jobs.

The CWU also planned a solidarity strike at Telkom as its work stoppage at mobile communication giant MTN enters its fourth week.

The union's president Clyde Mervin says Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele needs to be proactive.

"If you combine Telkom and the Post Office you are talking about 30,000 jobs. This minister what history will he have under his name; that's 30,000 jobs in his hands. We are calling on government to review some of these things because government cannot say we must create jobs and at the same be ones who are retrenching."

Earlier this month, Telkom said it would work with unions as it planned to push ahead with job cuts.

It said this would form part of a turnaround strategy which will see it cut more than 4,000 jobs.

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

A further 3,400 workers will be transferred to outsourced companies.

The telecommunications company said after exhausting all avenues, it's now offering voluntary severance and early retirement packages.