Vodacom faces CCMA over BEE deal

Read time 1min 40sec

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has started complaints proceedings against Vodacom over what it calls broken promises over its equity deal.

Late last year, Vodacom completed the largest telecoms broad-based empowerment deal in the industry, totalling R7.5 billion. As part of the deal, the company implemented a share scheme known as YeboYethu, which holds 3.44% of Vodacom.

All Vodacom's South African staff members were given the opportunity to participate through the YeboYethu Employee Participation Trust. However, CWU says promises made then have not been kept.

Aubrey Tshabalala, a CWU office bearer at Vodacom, says the first hearing was supposed to take place at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) yesterday. However, he says there was a miscommunication of the times.

He adds that the union has applied for a new date and will continue the action against the mobile operator.

The crux of the union's complaint is that Vodacom did not consult the workers over the YeboYethu share deal. It also says Vodacom promised the share scheme would be free for employees.

However, according to Tshabalala, the company now expects the workers to hold onto the shares for seven years, as well as contribute financially to the scheme.

At the time the deal was signed, Vodacom said allocation of shares to employees would be based on percentage of salary, with the lower paid employees getting a higher percentage. However, CWU says this has not been the case and it is concerned that lower paid employees are losing out.

The BEE deal has seen its share of controversy since it was announced and has been dogged by union complaints over how the scheme should work.

Vodacom says the matter was dismissed by the CCMA yesterday. It says it will respond to any further developments if any arise.

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