Fixed-line operator, Telkom, is starting a consultation process with labour unions on Wednesday over its plans to retrench 3 000 employees. Telkom, in which the government holds a stake of about 39%, has over R11 billion worth of debt and is struggling with declining performance in fixed voice and fixed data services.
Telkom spokesperson, Noma Faku says, “As things stand right now, the consultation process is starting with the trade unions. It is facilitated by the CCMA and that process will come out with a final number. Part of that process, we have put forward a number of 3000 as part of the review which takes 60 days. So if the trade unions come up with alternatives that they will table through the CCMA process in the next few days, that number may change. In the conversations that we are starting today, we are looking at Openserve and the consumer division.”
Faku says the firm requires less staff as they embark on modernising technologies.
“Our organisation operates in a very tough environment as does everybody else. But in particular Telkom has invested heavily in changing technology and modernising technology. So when you do that the unintended consequence is how you service the new technology vs old tech, which requires in some instances less people. So our customers will be much happier because we will have less fault lines on fibre vs copper which we had previously. So you need significantly less people to service the network in that instance. As we improved services for our customers it changed the nature of our business and that is what we are reviewing today.”
The graph below tracks unemployment stats from 2016 to 2019
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