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Govt must block job losses

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The government has its work cut out to ensure that job cuts are minimised.

Photo: Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters

THE government has a responsibility to keep citizens employed to ensure that the jobs bloodbath currently taking place in various sectors of the economy does not worsen.

Last week Telkom sent out Section 189 notices to its employees after it announced that it was planning to restructure its business.

This would see Telkom, in which the government is a 40% shareholder, retrench 3000 workers.

This comes in the wake of revelations by Massmart, whose brands include Makro and Game, that it would retrench about 3% of its workforce. This would see the company cut about 1440 jobs in South Africa.

The Telkom announcement prompted the Communication Workers Union (CWU) to call on the government to account for its role in the decision to lay off workers.

The union has also demanded that the ANC and Finance Minister Tito Mboweni use their influence to block the planned retrenchments.

It is clear that the current economic meltdown is going to worsen, and the government has its work cut out to ensure that job cuts are minimised.

As a country, we cannot be sending so many people into the streets and miraculously expect our economy to grow.

We support the call by CWU for the government to intervene in the Telkom saga, and to work with the board to seek other solutions rather than job losses.

As a shareholder, the government must not stand back and watch as more jobs are lost.

We hope that Mboweni and the ANC will step up to the plate and convince the board to search for innovative solutions to restructure Telkom, ones that do not involve shedding so many jobs.