COSATU is utterly appalled by Vodacom’s shocking threat to retrench workers

21 March 2024

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is utterly appalled by Vodacom’s shocking threat to retrench workers. It is unacceptable for a company that has posted billions of Rands of profits year after year to announce its intention to send 80 workers to the unemployment queue.  Its timing of this inhumane announcement during Human Rights Month is reflective of a company’s management who has lost all sense of decency. 

South Africa is struggling to turn the corner with an unemployment rate of 41% and a youth unemployment rate of 59%.  We simply cannot afford to shed a single job.  These pending retrenchments are unhelpful and in fact are shameful. 

Vodacom’s management’s behaviour is scandalous when the CEO of Vodacom earned R43 million in 2020 and R55 million in 2021.  Vodacom has continued to rake in profits with a 4.8% rise in revenue in 2020 reaching R91 billion whilst adding 5.9 million customers.  Group operating profit climbed to 13.2% or R27.7 billion during this period.  Similar growth in profits have continued since.

Yet despite Vodacom rolling in profits and its CEO being paid more in a year than most Vodacom workers would earn in their entire career, its management has sought fit to sending 80 of its hard-working employees to the unemployment queue where they will struggle to find work and will be in real danger of losing their homes, cars and property.  This is barbaric and shameful.

Most painful is that workers’ pension funds, including the Government Employees’ Pension Fund, are invested heavily in Vodacom, yet its management behaves likes some sort of modern-day Scrooge.

COSATU will continue supporting its tireless Affiliate, the Communications Workers’ Union, in its effort to stop these callous retrenchments.  The Labour Relations Act compels employers to engage with workers and their unions in good faith to prevent job losses and find alternatives.  This is not a passing suggestion, it is a legal obligation that Vodacom must adhere to.

Issued by COSATU 

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator 
Cell: 082 785 0687