labourcourtsThe Citizen reports that Telkom has been given the go-ahead to continue its retrenchment process after the Labour Court on Thursday dismissed an application launched by two unions for an urgent interdict to pause it.  

The application was launched by the SA Communication Union (Sacu) and the Communication Workers Union (CWU).  They went to court last month after Telkom started offering staff voluntary exit packages.  This followed the telecoms company’s announcement in January that 3,000 jobs were at risk.  Sacu’s Ashley Englund claimed in an affidavit that offers to staff were made without the unions having been properly consulted the unions first.  But Judge Robert Lagrange found that it was not Telkom, but the unions that were responsible for erecting the “stumbling block to consultations proceeding”.  He noted that in the unions’ view, it would be premature to discuss alternatives without having concluded discussions on the rationale for retrenching.  But Telkom contended that because of the significant impact that voluntary terminations could have on the ultimate need for any forced retrenchments, it made good sense to deal with that at the start of the process to reduce the scale of potential retrenchments.  The judge found that “even though there may be rational arguments for delaying the offer of VSPs [voluntary severance packages], that does not mean a party should refuse to discuss them altogether unless its proposal on the timing of such offers is accepted”.  The court dismissed the unions’ application.

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