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The Information Communications and Technology Union (ICTU) announced at the weekend that its members would down tools after the cellphone company insisted the retrenchment process involving thousands of workers could not be reversed.

In a letter on Friday, the union said: “ICTU hereby notifies Cell C that its members will be embarking on industrial action from 12 October 2020 at 08:00 at all Cell C buildings and shops in protest against the retrenchments of more than 1,600 employees you are intending to undertake”.

The announcement came after the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) and African Democratic Change (ADEC) party unsuccessfully intervened in the matter.

ICTU is an affiliate of Saftu, which is led by union firebrand Zwelinzima Vavi and represents about 800,000 workers through its 21 affiliated trade unions. ICTU is the sole worker representative at Cell C.

On Thursday, Saftu wrote to Cell C CEO Douglas Craigie Stevenson requesting a meeting to resolve the dispute over retrenchments.

Earlier in the week, ADEC joined the ICTU in protests at Cell C shops. The party threatened to shut down Cell C shops if the company insisted on the retrenchments.

Responding to Saftu, Prince Mphogo, Cell C Executive for Employee Relations, said: “Consultations and engagement regarding avoiding potential job losses have accordingly been exhausted and engaging with yourselves to undo the process which commenced far back as 19 June 2020 at this late stage would not be possible.

“Accordingly, we do not see a way open to engaging with you as requested.”

Mphogo added that the company has engaged the ICTU regarding the job losses arising from the necessary restructuring to ensure the sustainability of Cell C.

Also read: Cell C to proceed with retrenchments after court victory

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