Telkom. Picture: SUNDAY TIMES
Picture: SUNDAY TIMES

THE Labour Court in Johannesburg has dismissed an application brought by the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to interdict job cuts at Telkom.

Acting Judge Sean Snyman ruled on Tuesday that consultation processes held over 300 potential job cuts from April to July were procedurally fair, and that the conduct of the CWU had pointed to attempts to scupper the process.

Telkom, which has gone through a number of rounds of restructuring in 2014 and 2015, informed staff in February they were seeking to cut 300 jobs, but ultimately cut 57.

The CWU and Information and Communication Technology Union (Ictu) walked out of the first round of talks, arguing that negotiations on salaries and conditions of service for 2016 should be concluded first. Several rounds of talks then followed.

The Labour Court concluded that the CWU’s approach to the restructuring talks "left much to be desired" and ultimately its approach amounted to attempts to obstruct the process.

"In my view, and in the circumstances of this matter, the overall objective of a fair consultation has been achieved, despite CWU’s best efforts to scupper this," the judgement from the judge read.

The CWU could not immediately be reached for comment on Tuesday. The union is in the midst of a five-week long strike at Telkom pursuing an 11% salary increase.

The CWU is also expected to be in court on Wednesday in order to seek an interdict against outsourcing of 980 call centre staff at MTN.

CWU president Clyde Mervin said on Monday the union was set to argue consultation on outsourcing had not been concluded, however, the court matter went further including multiple broken agreements from MTN including an agreement reached in principle in February to end outsourcing.

MTN said on Monday it would oppose the CWU interdict, and that the "hybrid" model of in house and third party call centres would streamline operations and offer better service.