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Court halts Telkom retrenchments

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The Labour Court in Johannesburg has ruled that Telkom’s restructuring and retrenchment process be stopped.

Judge David Gush also ordered Telkom to retract its restructuring and retrenchment notice.

In addition, trade unions must refer a dispute regarding the interpretation and application of the collective agreement within five days. A cost order was also granted in favour of Solidarity against Telkom.

Solidarity deputy general secretary Johan Kruger says the court order signals a clear message against unfair restructuring processes. “This judgment is a victory for Telkom workers who are regularly being subjected to restructuring processes. Solidarity will do everything in its power to ensure that Telkom abide by the court order and follow the correct procedures,” he says.

Solidarity last week approached the court with an urgent application for an interdict against Telkom’s planned restructuring and retrenchments, which differed from an agreement on restructuring processes it had concluded with trade unions in 2008.

In terms of this agreement, Telkom has to meet with trade unions and reach a settlement before the company may embark on a restructuring process. Although the unions had declared a dispute with Telkom on 19 June over the planned retrenchments, Telkom carried on to issue a section 189 retrenchment notice to trade unions on 22 June.

In terms of Telkom’s current restructuring process as many as 4 400 employees could be retrenched, while a further 3 200 could be redeployed to other companies.