Thursday, April 30, 2009

South Africa: Telkom's trades union seeks an increase of 16 per cent

[itweb] Telkom and trade union Solidarity will continue wage negotiations today, following the union's demand for a 16% increase.

The negotiations are a continuation of an ongoing discussion around a substantive agreement signed by the utility and the unions in 2006. The initial agreement affords union members an increase of 6.5%.

The wage negotiations have become an on-again, off-again saga. In July last year, Solidarity accepted an increased figure of 10.5% from Telkom. However, several other trade unions continued to negotiate with the utility and drew an 11.5% increase.

At the time, it was unclear whether Solidarity was to be included in the member increases for the other unions.

Solidarity says it has been joined by several other unions in its current battle to increase the wage percentage to 16%.

“Telkom's offer is not only far out of reach of Solidarity's demand, but is even lower than the current CPI figure of 8.6%,” explains Solidarity spokesperson Jaco Kleynhans.

The union says its demand in this year's negotiations with Telkom is the current CPI figure, medical and food inflation, and inflation on administered prices. “The current CPI figure is already higher than in January this year, and it could rise in the coming months, while food inflation which is currently on 15.8% and medical inflation rose dramatically during the past year. Administered prices also place huge pressure on employees,” explains Kleynhans.

He adds there is a list of 30 other demands which are expected to be thrashed out at the table today.

With the looming unbundling of Vodacom, the union has told Telkom to place a “moratorium on all retrenchments at the company”. Other demands include increases in vehicle allowance for employees on higher job levels, increases in housing and medical aid allowance, and the implementation of long service bonuses and retention bonuses.

“Solidarity's demands are aimed at ensuring employees at Telkom be remunerated to such an extent that they keep up with rising living costs and to eventually ensure a real improvement in salaries,” explains Kleynhans.

Solidarity demands 16% from Telkom

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