A number of Telkom facilities around South Africa have, according to the telecom giant, been targeted in a series of acts of sabotage.
Telkom revealed that facilities in Midrand, Pretoria West, Silverton, Durban, Pinetown, Pietermaritzburg, Makhado and Messina, were sabotaged.
“This is not vandalism, the criminals who damaged our property knew what they were doing. Cables have been cut to cause maximum damage. Entire street distribution cabinets, which are located in neighbourhoods to serve multiple streets at a time, have been ripped apart and in a few instances yesterday, set on fire,” said Jacqui O’Sullivan, Telkom Group Executive for Communication.
At some sites, specialist equipment was required to access the fibre cables and the criminals were clearly using equipment that is not commonly available.
“The SAPS, with support from additional investigators and Telkom’s own forensics team, are currently pursuing a number of good leads to identify these saboteurs,” O’Sullivan said.
Telkom’s Group CEO, Sipho Maseko, yesterday announced a R500 000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the saboteurs. This reward is available to any person either within Telkom, or a member of the public with pertinent information. Telkom has asked that any person with information related to these crimes please contact the Telkom crime reporting line on 0800 124 000.
“We apologise to our customers who have been inconvenienced by this senseless sabotage. We are working to repair the damage as quickly as possible,” O’Sullivan said.
On Monday 15 August 2016, members of the Communication Worker’s Union (CWU) blockaded access to Telkom offices and facilities. Employees were barred from entering the Telkom Campus in Centurion and were intimidated and threatened. Telkom secured an urgent interim order to interdict the union from illegal activities such as blockading entrances to facilities and offices and intimidating staff. The interdict also instructed that CWU members who are participating in the strike, must do so fifty meters away from Telkom premises. The union is demanding an 11% increase for all bargaining unit employees.
In June this year, SACU and Solidarity signed a Collaborative Partnership Agreement with Telkom following protracted negotiations, which included substantive wage negotiations. While the CWU at the time indicated their intention to sign, that has unfortunately not yet happened. The primary agreements are:
- No forced retrenchments for the next two years
- Outsourcing to be limited to less than a 1,000 employees over the next two years
- The introduction of a new variable incentive scheme, known as “Performance Pays”, which will replace the previous Short Term Incentive scheme
- Performance Pays will focus on customer satisfaction and front-line productivity metrics
- An employee who is achieving their targets could earn up to 12% more, per month, through Performance Pays.
- An increase of 6% on basic salary payable from 1st April 2017
“We have made important improvements within Telkom in the past two years but our fundamental concern remains poor customer service and inconsistent productivity,” O’Sullivan said.
To change the culture of our organisation, to one that prioritises the customer and drives productivity, we believe the Company must incentivise the right behaviour. We want to pay our people up to 12% more a month, for excellent customer service and for hitting their targets. Across-the-board increases have been the standard at Telkom for years. Those increases have done nothing to improve our customer service. That has to change and Performance Pays is how we will make that change.
“We spent months meeting and negotiating with the unions and we met the unions more than halfway on a number of issues, which is why SACU and Solidarity were comfortable to sign the partnership agreement. However, when it comes to incentivising our employees, we have to do what is best for our customers, our employees and for the productivity of our business.”