Trade unions plan to boycott Vodacom

vodafone_CEO_Vittorio_Colao.jpgSouth African labour unions are planning to boycott mobile network service provider, Vodacom, sighting the failure of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to intervene in the sale by Telkom of its remaining stake in the company.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) said it will meet in June to lobby for such action. It said it was seeking legal action to halt the share transaction.

Says COSATU spokesman Patrick Craven: “The COSATU Central Executive Committee will be meeting on 1-2 June 2009 and will be recommended to endorse a campaign which will include a total boycott of Vodacom. The federation will lobby its allies, including the ANC, the SACP and the ANCYL, and other unions to join the boycott and shift all their cell-phone accounts to other operators, if the listing goes ahead and Telkom receives the R22.5 billion which Vodafone is to pay for a 15 percent stake in Vodacom. COSATU is consulting its lawyers to investigate the possibility of applying for an urgent interdict to stop the listing,”

He further criticised ICASA for its role in the transaction.

“The Congress of South African Trade Unions has noted with disgust the decision by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, despite COSATU’s arguments, not to intervene to postpone the process of Telkom selling off shares in Vodacom for R22.5 billion. The company is now to be listed on Monday 18 May 2009, without any participation by the public as required by the Icasa regulations.”

Vodacom is planning to publicly list its stock on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the near future.