• Talks with unions to eliminate 6,000 jobs were unsuccessful
  • The company has a workforce of 14,000 in South Africa.

Telkom SA Soc Ltd., the former South African phone monopoly grappling with a long-term decline in its fixed-line business, is offering a voluntary severance to all of its staff not currently covered by existing outsourcing agreements.

The offer comes after negotiations between the Pretoria-based company, still 39 percent owned by the government, and unions to eliminate 6,000 jobs by July were unsuccessful. Employees have until March 31 to take up the offer, according to an internal memo sent to employees by Chief Executive Officer Sipho Maseko.

"Today we are going to move this forward,” said Maseko, adding that unions were frustrating discussions between the company and its employees. "We are going to do this legally and we are doing it now."

Maseko has been trying to lighten the financial drag from the company’s vocal, older and well-paid workforce since taking the helm almost three years ago, while attempting to ramp up the mobile data business. The company has a workforce of 14,000 in South Africa. That compares to mobile competitor Vodacom Group Ltd., which employs some 7,800 across all its African operations.

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