A shopper walks past a Telkom shop at a mall in Johannesburg. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIEW SEBEKO
A shopper walks past a Telkom shop at a mall in Johannesburg. Picture: REUTERS/SIPHIEW SEBEKO

A labour union is trying to prevent Telkom from continuing with a plan to cut as much as 20% of its workforce to cope with falling sales in its landline business and a weak economy.

The Communication Workers’ Union (CWU) and Telkom were appearing in the labour court on Wednesday morning, the union and Telkom said in text messages.

Telkom was rushing the process and had not considered alternatives to job cuts that could affect as many as 3,000 employees, the CWU said.

The former monopoly started the consultation process with unions in January after a declining performance in its fixed-voice business, which previously made up more than half of gross revenue. Its fixed-data unit is also suffering because of a migration to mobile data, the Pretoria-based company said, adding that it was trying to achieve “organisational and operational efficiencies”.

The economy is stuck in its longest downward spiral since 1945 as President Cyril Ramaphosa struggles to push through reforms needed to spur growth. Power cuts, delays in policy implementation, deteriorating public finances and the threat of SA losing its sole remaining investment-grade credit rating dragged business confidence down to the lowest level in 34 years in 2019.

Bloomberg