Telkom to slash jobs

17 February 2015 - 02:07 By TJ Strydom
Telkom offices. File photo
Telkom offices. File photo
Image: Gallo Images

Telkom is restructuring and could be cutting jobs, but not 10000 as a trade union suggests, the company said yesterday.

The fixed-line operator will close some of its 95 Telkom Direct stores and retrench some of the employees at the stores.

"It is clear that significant cost efficiencies can be realised by closing down these unviable stores," Telkom said.

Telkom's call centre, IT legacy systems and supply chain warehousing would be passed on to other companies, it said.

But earlier yesterday trade union Solidarity claimed it was expecting a massive culling of the company's "field force".

"Even though Solidarity has not received a section 189 notice from Telkom yet, management informed the trade union that it is planning on restructuring its field force division. As many as 10000 employees could possibly be affected by the process," Solidarity said yesterday.

Telkom denied this.

"This is not a correct reflection of the day's discussions [with trade unions]. [The] meeting, which will be followed with the initiation of the formal consultation process, pertains only to the call centre, IT legacy systems, supply chain warehousing and the affected Telkom stores. The Telkom field force is currently not part of the discussions with organised labour."

The Telkom share price has more than doubled in the past year - despite boardroom drama and a disciplinary hearing that resulted in the resignation of chief financial officer Jacques Schindehutte - as it trimmed management to achieve cost savings. Reports early last year that it would cut the jobs of 1000 managers were also refuted by Telkom at the time.

More recently, Telkom has been fingered by Barclays Africa as the most likely "non-core" asset to be disposed of by the government as it tries to raise R20-billion for a cash injection into Eskom.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that mobile giant MTN is looking to acquire Telkom.