Labour Court rejects union bid to halt Telkom job cuts
Telkom said in February it would cut 300 jobs as part of a turnaround strategy.
JOHANNESBURG - A South African labour court rejected on Wednesday a union's bid to prevent job cuts in fixed-line operator Telkom, according to a copy of the judgment seen by Reuters.
Telkom, in which the government owns a stake of about 40 percent, said in February it would cut 300 jobs as part of a turnaround strategy that included reducing costs and outsourcing some services. The company has since reduced the number of layoffs to 57.
Friction between the company and the Communication Worker's Union's (CWU) started early this year when Telkom agreed to a pay deal with two of its three largest labour unions. The CWU rejected the offer and after talks between the company and union collapsed, it called a strike on 1 August.
On the same day the union also applied for a court interdict seeking to nullify Telkom's redundancies and start the negotiation processes from scratch.
According to the judgment, the court said the union had been confrontational and obstructive in its approach, and was not negotiating in good faith.
The court also found it was not proper for the CWU to "adopt the approach of effective non-participation in the process", and then seek a nullification later.
Earlier this month thousands of subscribers were cut off from Telkom's network after cables were cut and some set on fire, in acts of vandalism the company blamed on striking workers.
Telkom welcomed the decision of the court, saying that "the CWU has not engaged in good faith and now a judge has shown this" in emailed comments to Reuters.
The union was not immediately available for comment.
Telkom embarked on a turnaround strategy in 2014 and has offered thousands of employees' voluntary redundancy packages since then.