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Workers seek divine intervention

By Sipho Masombuka | Aug 05, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

HUNDREDS of Telkom employees refused to sing the English and Afrikaans versions of the National Anthem during their march to Telkom's head office in the Pretoria CBD yesterday.

They cited a huge gap between salaries of white and black employees as the reason for singing only the Zulu and Sotho versions of the National Anthem.

The union's leadership burnt incense, sprinkled snuff and traditional beer for divine intervention before handing over their memorandum.

In a memorandum handed to Telkom's managing director Pinky Moholi, the Communications Workers Union (CWU) demanded an 8percent salary hike across the board. The workers also wanted the adjustment of salary scales and transformation of Telkom's human resources department, which they say is occupied by whites.

The union has threatened to revert to their initial 13percent wage increase demand if Telkom fails to address their grievances.

CWU spokesperson Pheane Ramaodi said the strike would be intensified from next Tuesday.

He said they were prepared to settle for the "7,5percent offer only if Telkom agrees to change salary scales which are based on race".

Telkom spokesperson Charlotte Mokoena said the South African Communication Workers Union and Solidarity have accepted the company's 7,5 percent offer.

Mokoena said negotiations with the CWU would continue. "Our commitment to resolve challenges amicably is tangibly demonstrated by the company's willingness to pursue a negotiated settlement with all parties, hence the continuation of discussions with CWU.

"These negotiations include a revised offer to address disparities in an aggressive manner. Over the past years Telkom has, through various initiatives, been proactively managing disparities that resulted from historical issues. The objective is to achieve this in the shortest possible time."

Mokoena said they had noted with disappointment acts of vandalism and sabotage carried out against the firm but did not give details.


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