Telkom strike: 'Contingency plans in place'

Telkom has plans in place should its employees embark on strike action, the telecommunications provider said on Monday.

“The company has contingency measures in place to minimise the potential effect of industrial action.

“Telkom is still involved in discussions with organised labour and these talks continue today [Monday] as well,” Meshack Dlamini, Telkom’s executive for employee relations, said in a statement.

It was not made clear what the contingency plans were, and it had been claimed the strike could severely hinder internet as well as telephone services.

Earlier, hundreds of employees picketed outside the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) offices in Johannesburg, where Telkom and the Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) were in talks.

This was part of a two-day stayaway by Telkom employees around the country that started on Monday.

“They have gathered at the CCMA, and workers in Mpumalanga, Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are pulling together as well,” CWU spokesperson Pheane Ramoadi said.

Should Telkom fail to reach an agreement with the union before August 11, workers would go on strike.

Workers want Telkom to adjust salary scales before implementing a 7,5% salary increase.

The CWU Gauteng members were expected to march to Telkom’s head office in Johannesburg on Tuesday to deliver a memorandum outlining their grievances and demands.

The union warned Telkom to make “meaningful offers” or face a “serious showdown” as its members would not accept conditional agreements.

“Our members are still adamant that their salary scales adjustments should precede the 7,5% salary increment, and both the adjustment and increment must be implemented retrospectively to April 1 this year.”

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) came out in support of Telkom employees.

“The federation sends its solidarity to workers marching to Telkom head office, and to those in other provinces who will be involved in go-slows and overtime bans,” spokesperson Patrick Craven said.

The federation also welcomed the meeting between the CWU and Telkom and urged the employer to make “serious proposals” in response to the union’s demands.

“Cosatu also shared the CWU’s concern that there should be an equitable distribution of Telkom profits to its employees,” Craven said.—Sapa


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