Huge job losses in ICT sector: Solidarity

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File: Solidarity is making an urgent application to the courts, which Telkom plans to fight.

PRETORIA - The ongoing restructuring in the information and communications technology industry puts employees under immense pressure, trade union Solidarity said on Wednesday.

"There have been far more retrenchments this year than in previous years. Certain companies are retrenching people on a large scale while only a few companies, such as Vodacom, have not yet announced any large-scale retrenchments," said union spokesman Marius Croucamp.

Employees that remain in the industry were experiencing increased pressure at work as they had to take over the tasks of their retrenched colleagues.

"We are currently seeing a pattern in the industry whereby retrenchments lead to overburdened employees and reduced production, which in turn may lead to further retrenchments," he said.

"We will therefore urge employers during consultations that the welfare of its workforce should be the industry&39;s first priority."

The trade union attributed the recent increased job losses in the industry to pressure on the South African economy.

And, new technologies that the industry depended on for survival, had become unaffordable.

The trade union also pointed out that staff were not being adequately trained to master the new technologies in the industry.

Croucamp said about 1,000 employees at Telkom were affected by restructuring, of which 676 had already been placed in alternative positions.

At least 302 people had accepted voluntary severance packages.

The company was in the process of placing a remaining 104 employees in alternative positions.

At MTN, 847 employees were affected, of which 200 had already accepted voluntary severance packages.

Placements in alternative positions were ongoing. There might be as many as 354 forced retrenchments.

At Cell C, 190 employees were affected by the process, Croucamp said.