Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  20 Oct 2009

LABOUR: Solidarity Tackles Telkom


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Telkom’s employment equity plan is unfair and discriminatory, according to the trade union Solidarity. The situation is so serious that the trade union is insisting that the company’s CEO, Reuben September, should address this unfair racial discrimination. Solidarity is demanding that the implementation of this plan be ceased immediately and that it be revised.

In terms of Telkom’s employment equity plan employees from the non-designated groups are overrepresented in Telkom. Due to this “overrepresentation”, a moratorium was placed on the appointment and promotion of employees from these groups. However, the plan was implemented without the necessary consultation.

According to Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans, the aim of Telkom’s plan is to achieve demographic representation at all costs and at all levels in Telkom. “The plan does not at all take into consideration the negative effect it could have on employees who fall outside the designated groups,” Kleynhans explained.

Solidarity maintains that the implementation of the plan is not in line with the conditions of the Constitution. In addition, Telkom’s benchmark for determining the levels of representation within the company is defective. Telkom compared the representation ratio of the percentage of economically active people of all races and genders to the percentage of employees of all races and genders.

“This benchmark leads to unfair discrimination against employees in Telkom who fall outside the designated groups. The levels of available skills must also be used in the equation. In doing so, Telkom would not only apply a fair benchmark, but it would also ensure the retention of critical skills,” Kleynhans said.

“Telkom’s employment plan violates the rights of minorities in Telkom and amounts to serious inequity. The law does not at all provide for a total ban as it is currently being applied in Telkom,” Kleynhans said.

Meanwhile, Solidarity also maintains that discrimination in Telkom leads to the alienation of employees. "There are many cases where management acted inconsistently in handling charges of racism in the company while cases relating to racist remarks were often overlooked,” Kleynhans said. “At Telkom, Solidarity is noticing a wave of complaints about racism against minority groups. However, the worrying issue is that many false allegations are made, which fuels the sensitive situation in the company.”

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