Pretoria - Solidarity on Friday declared a wage dispute with
telecommunications company Telkom [JSE:TKG], the trade union's spokesperson
"Telkom indicated during today's (Friday's) round that it
will impose a two-year moratorium on retrenchments, provided that trade unions
will accept a wage increase of only 4.5%," said Marius Croucamp.
This "amounts to extortion, since employees now have to
choose between job security and a liveable salary".
Solidarity declared the dispute after three rounds of wage
negotiations. Telkom was not immediately available to comment.
Croucamp said there was "room in Telkom's salary budget
since the company did away with 1 877 employees at the beginning of the year by
means of voluntary severance packages".
This had saved 9.2% of Telkom's salary budget, and left room
for a wage increase of between 8% and 10%, he said.
The company should also compensate those employees left for
their scarce skills.
"Almost 9% of Telkom's total labour force accepted
voluntary severance packages. Of the 1 877 employees who took voluntary
severance packages, 1 650 already vacated their positions in March. The rest
left at the end of April," Croucamp said.
"Shortly after, Telkom realised that it has now come up
against a substantial skills shortage and several of those who already vacated
their positions, were lured back with temporary contracts to transfer their
skills to the remaining personnel."
In the first round of negotiations, Solidarity asked Telkom
to impose a two-year moratorium on retrenchments, and apply it retrospectively
from April 1 2011.
Telkom said on the release of its annual results earlier
this month it had "neither the agility to seize market opportunities nor
the ability to absorb competitive pressures ad infinitum".
It therefore needed to "aggressively tackle the cost
"Labour support is vital in this area," Telkom