South Africa’s biggest fixed line operator, Telkom, on Wednesday rejected claims that it was set to retrench 13 000 workers.

“Telkom is aware of speculation regarding retrenchment of some 13 000 employees and wishes to place it on record that no such decision has been taken,” it said in a statement.

Telkom recently proclaimed voluntary separation and voluntary early retirement process to its employees. This highlighted that the choice to request a package was a decision of every employee.

“No employee is obligated to invoke this offer. Importantly, this is not a Section 189 process in disguise and this is not the first time Telkom has made this offer available to all categories of employees,” Telkom said.

“Furthermore the outcome of this process will not be assessed on the reduction of the number of employees, but on the overall impact of the Company’s cost structure. This will be monitored continuously throughout the process to ensure that the Company reaches the desired state of cost efficiency.”

Last week, the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) swore to contest the planned to offer voluntary packages to Telkom workers.

“Even if Telkom can use a different concept or wording like voluntary severance packages or early retirement, it means retrenchment, which as CWU we will find it difficult to agree with the company’s intention,” CWU president Cecil Mokgantsho was quoted as saying.

“As CWU we will never allow any form of retrenchment of our members. Even if the company can threaten or bully our members, we will fight the company until the last drop of our blood.” Telkom has a workforce of around 21 000 employees.


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