As Telkom announced today that it would go ahead with the planned outsourcing of call centre, supply chain and IT environment staff, the company says it has been hit by a number of go-slows.

The outsourcing of staff will go ahead on 31 March after Telkom failed to reach an agreement with unions on additional offers towards staff.

Because of the failure to reach an agreement, current call centre staff embarked on a go-slow over the weekend, putting further strain on an already suffering system.

“Our service levels have been under severe pressure for a number of weeks. We would like to apologise to all our customers for the poor service levels. We have brought additional staff into our already outsourced call centres and have increased our resourcing of the non-call centre customer options”, said Telkom spokesman, Jacqui O’Sullivan in a media statement.

Although the call centre seems to be functioning at a minimum, customers with queries are encouraged to use the other avenues available.

“Customers with internet access can log a fault or use the chat service at www.telkom.co.za. Alternately, please SMS ‘service’ to 30591 or email [email protected] Customers can also tweet us using the Twitter handle @TelkomZA,” Telkom said.

Explaining its stance, Telkom said that the Section 197 process have been in the pipeline for about five weeks already, and that SACU and Solidarity recently asked Telkom to make Voluntary Severance Packages (VSPs) and Voluntary Early Retirement Packages (VERPs) available. It was also requested from unions that Telkom move the transfer date out from 31 March to 30 April.

“Telkom agreed to both requests. Written acceptance of the offer was required from the unions by Friday afternoon. While Solidarity and the South African Communication Union (SACU) accepted Telkom’s offer ahead of the deadline, the Communication Workers Union (CWU) withheld the majority consent, which meant no agreement could be reached.”

Charlie started his professional life as a motoring journalist for a community newspaper in Mpumalanga, Charlie explored different journalistic angles since his entry into the fast-paced world of publishing in 2006. While fostering a passion for the arts, Charlie developed a love for technology – both which allowed him to serve as Entertainment and Technology Editor for an online publication. Charlie has since been heavily involved in consumer technology for various websites and publications. He thoroughly enjoys World War II films and cerebral documentaries; aviation; photography and indie music. Oh yes, and he also has a rather strange obsession with collecting coffee mugs from his travels.