Telkom SA Ltd. has been ordered by the labour court to postpone its retrenchment process until it and organized labour have concluded consultation talks on the rationale to reduce staff numbers, says George Nkadimeng, Telkom’s employee relations executive.

“Telkom will honour the labour court judgment, and remain committed to the consultative process in full compliance with the Labour Relations Act. Telkom will be able to start implementing voluntary severance and early retirement packages from September 14 whether Telkom and organized labour reach agreement by this date or not,” Nkadimeng says.

On Sunday night Telkom was granted leave to appeal on the court’s ruling. It claims that the offer of voluntary severance and early retirement packages is “voluntary”, and believes that it is entitled to make the offer to employees without consultation with organized labour.

Telkom also claims that it is only in circumstances where it intends to dismiss employees for operational reasons that it needs to comply with the process as envisaged in the LRA.

Consultation talks began on August 6 at the request of organized labour, which wanted an independent facilitator for consultation talks with Telkom. Further meetings had been scheduled for August 24, September 4 and September 13, which are being facilitated by the CCMA.

Telkom and organized labour are also meeting ahead of the consultation talks to review the business rationale behind Telkom’s review of its business from an operational perspective.

Telkom expects that its complement of fixed-line staff will decrease by between seven per cent and 10 per cent a year over the next three years.