Telkom unions endorse headcount strategy


The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has signed a
headcount management agreement with Telkom, enabling the company to
offer enhanced voluntary severance packages to all staff, Telkom
said in a statement.

"This development means that Telkom's comprehensive headcount
strategy now enjoys the support of all three trade unions operating
in the Telkom workplace environment," the statement said.

First to ratify the company's proposed strategy was the Alliance
of Telkom Unions (ATU), incorporating Solidarity and the South
African Communications Union (SACU), on 3 February 2005.

Telkom's Human Resources Group Executive, Oupa Magashula,
attributed the unions' endorsement of the company's strategy to a
mutually beneficial labour-management relationship.

"We have come a long way with our social partners to reach a
stage where have now signed an agreement which effectively brings
stability and certainty in our business, with no cloud of possible
retrenchments hanging over employees' heads," said Magashula.

The headcount management strategy is a socially responsible
mechanism by Telkom to manage down staff numbers as part of its
objective to improve business operations in the fast-changing
technology environment.

With the headcount management deal now signed by all three
unions, the company will put a one-year moratorium on retrenchments
until 31 March 2006 if a headcount reduction figure of 2 903 is
achieved during the current voluntary process.

"Telkom will now offer enhanced packages to all employees, which
include an eight months notice pay - two months up compared to the
six months notice pay offered last year."

The voluntary severance packages have been further enhanced
through a social plan benefit of R20 000 or R10 000 as start-up
capital for those launching new businesses or continuing with
existing enterprises.

All parties agreed to establish a joint national committee to
monitor the implementation and the set timeframes for the voluntary
process, as well as input into the drafting of briefing documents
for employees.

"However the company has the prerogative to approve or decline
applications for voluntary separation packages, based on its
operational needs."

Employees whose applications were accepted and exited the
company on 31 March 2005 would qualify for this year's gain-sharing
bonuses, traditionally paid out in July.