The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) rejects the proposed takeover of Telkom by MTN. Workers’ experience of such mergers/acquisition is bleak and catastrophic.
These mergers of large companies have seen thousands of workers lose their jobs and have encouraged anti-competitive and monopolistic behaviour increase, including price gouging. Telkom in particular has seen thousands of jobs shed since it was listed, and highly qualified and experienced workers have been casualised.
South Africa’s data and call charges are already far above the international average and have become a real impediment to economic growth and job creation.
This has a real impact on workers having to pay exorbitant cell phone charges and SMMEs struggling to survive. We cannot afford to see an already monopolistic sector riddled with allegations of collusion, becoming even less competitive.
Telkom for all intents and purposes, remains a publicly owned company with the state and the Public Investment Corporation having a collective 51% plus ownership of the company.
Workers demand to hear from the state and the PIC which invests public servants’ pensions, and Unemployment and Injury on Duty Insurance Funds on this critical matter.
We intend to engage them and remind them that their broad mandate is to protect the interests of workers.
This is a matter that requires the views and approval of the Competition Commission as this proposed takeover is about two companies in a highly concentrated and lucrative sector.
The Competition Commission will need to be firm in opposition to such predatory behaviour, and consider previous price manipulation and other unsavoury allegations that have plagued players in the telecommunications sector.
The government, the PIC, and the Competition Commission need to firmly and clearly come out and oppose this damaging proposal by MTN that has infamously abused its power and domination before.
Issued by COSATU
Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)
Tel: 011 339 4911
Cell: 060 975 6794