Historically disadvantaged main victims of telecommunications retrenchment drive

job cuts

In recent press releases, telecommunications giants – Cell C, MTN and Telkom – attempt to lessen the massive impact of their decisions to retrench employees by using corporate jargon – Downsizing. Rightsizing and Rationalising – as part of what they call ‘cost cutting measures”. However, at the end of the day, the exercise will result into hundreds being rendered jobless, the majority of them unskilled and semi-skilled Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (PDIs).

In spite of recording massive earnings in their recent annual reports, Telkom, MTN and Cell  C recently announced that they would be reducing their employee complements.

With regards to Telkom, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) said that the fixed telephone line monopoly had issued retrenchment letters to 105 staff members.The majority of retrenchment casualties at Telkom are employees in tasks that are regarded as ‘non-core’ to its operations. Most of the employees in non-core operations, who lack tecommunications-intensive skills, are from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.

Concerned about the plight of its members, the CWU said it feared that the retrenchments might affect Telkom’s commitment to employment equity initiative. The union claimed: “With the current process of retrenchment of management staff in all divisions, the majority of positions that are not affected are those of whites, while the black majority is being retrenched.”

Similarly, Telkom’s rivals, Cell C and MTN said that they had issued some of their employees with retrenchments notices. The majority of the affected employees in both organisations are from historically disadvantaged backgrounds.

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