Labour movement to discuss possible boycott of Vodacom


South African labour movement, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) has threatened a boycott of mobile network provider Vodacom.

This follows the recent High Court decision of judge John Murphy, dismissing with costs the joint application by it and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) seeking an urgent interdict to prevent the listing of mobile provider Vodacom, and the sale of R22.5 billion worth of Telkom shares in the company to UK operator Vodafone.

Says Patrick Craven, COSATU spokesperson: “It is particularly disturbing that the judge conceded that the applicant COSATU had a legitimate right to apply for such an interdict and that it might well have a good case for the public consultation on the Vodacom deal, yet he considered that the potential damage done to COSATU to be of lesser importance than the potential financial damage to the respondents Telkom, Vodacom and Vodafone if he had interdicted the deal.”

The trade union organization believes that the sale will result in eventual job losses for South African workers once the controlling stake in Vodacom belongs to a foreign entity.

COSATU said the fight against the Vodacom deal will continue despite the company’s successful stock exchange listing on Monday, and it will consult with its lawyers on possible further court action to appeal the decision, up to the Constitutional Court if necessary.

The COSATU Central Executive Committee will also meet on 1-2 June 2009 to discuss the endorsement of a total boycott of Vodacom.

“We will appeal to other unions to join the boycott and shift all their cell-phone accounts to other operators” said Craven.