Tuesday, 10 June 2008 7:31 AM

Telekom Risks Shutting Down

The indigenous employees of Telekom have warned of a total shut down if the dispute over their demand for the removal the company's CEO and Board Chairman is not resolved quickly.

A statement from indigenous Telekom workers warns that if the matter is not resolved and the Telekom indigenous workers do take industrial action, the nation will be severely affected.

"There won't be any flights, banking will be affected, businesses and individuals will not communicate through fax, telephone, and email, resulting in an almost total shutdown of communications with the rest of the world," the indigenous staff said in their statement.

While the statement does not say this, one possible industrial action which the Telekom indigenous workers could take is mass resignations which would complicate and widen the dispute.

The statement said that the Telekom Board Chairman, John Beverly, is clearly using his power in an obvious attempt to protect himself and CEO Martyn Robinson despite the demand by the absolute majority of Telekom employees, for Mr. Robinson's immediate departure.

"The CEO is well over 60 years old and he has retired Telekom employees who were below 60 years old and he cannot retire himself and the indigenous staffs are asking why the Board is being quite about this," the statement said.

A statement from the indigenous Telekom employees says that referring the dispute to the TDP was a sensible course of action to avoid both sides taking industrial actions while providing the parties the option to negotiate the demands.

"Both Beverly and Robinson are claiming that the demands are non negotiable despite the fact that there is clearly overwhelming support for their removal, a strategy reflecting two desperate people who will go to any lengths to protect their personal interests rather than those of the company," the statement said.

At the same time the indigenous staff members have pointed out the fact that Telekom is currently the NPFs' most profitable investment resulting in the 18% dividends paid to members last financial year.

"This year Our Telekom will be paying the NPF vast amounts of dividends and an increase on 2007 dividends is expected for this financial year."

The indigenous Telekom workers said that the NPF is the majority shareholder in Telekom and has the majority in the Board and should be proactive in resolving the issue rather than "wait and see attitude." "After all the Telekom Board has the authority to hire and fire and CEO of Telekom."

"The dispute was referred to the TDP in the first instance because Beverly on behalf of those whose interests he represents has refused to deal with the dispute and leaving it to Robinson to sort it out by himself," the statement said.

"This is a gross negligence of duties when the Telekom Board Chairman decides to leave it to the CEO who is at the centre of the dispute to deal with the matter...this involves a conflict of interests and Robinson will fight for his on interests leaving the interest of the business and shareholders at Stake."

The interest of the business far outweighs other interests and should be the main contributing factor to the decision making process of the stakeholders.

In pledging their solidarity the indigenous employees call on the Government to recognize that the CEO cannot work together with the indigenous employees who are the majority and that there are very strong and serious allegations to back up the staffs demands.