Trade union Solidarity has made an official request for intervention by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to resolve the wage dispute between trade unions and telecommunications giant Telkom.
The call on the CCMA has beenmade in terms of section 150 of the Labour Relations Act.
According to the union, wage negotiations with Telkom only started in May this year and three rounds of wage talks have not delivered notable results. A wage agreement should have come into effect on 1 April.
According to Marius Croucamp, spokesperson for Solidarity, the trade union took this step to set off a conciliation process, ensuring the parties involved can negotiate until a solution is found.
“Trade unions earlier referred a dispute to the CCMA on the grounds that Telkom did not negotiate in good faith. It is also clear that Telkom is trying to delay the negotiations,” he says. “It is in the national interest to see to it that the wage dispute is settled as soon as possible.
“Telkom already has a big skills shortage. A strike at the company could have catastrophic consequences for service delivery,” Croucamp adds.
Trade unions have already rejected Telkom’s final wage offer of a 5% increase, which had been increased from 4,5% in the previous round of negotiations.
“The meagre wage offer is definitely not going to resolve the company’s skills crisis which it caused by awarding voluntary severance packages earlier this year,” says Croucamp. “A weak offer could worsen the skills shortage, as the remaining skilled employees may start looking for greener pastures.”