Johannesburg - Telkom plans to target white, male employees when making job cuts that may affect more than 2 600 managers at the fixed-line phone company, according to labour unions.

The carrier would consider “employment equity” when deciding who to dismiss, according to a document two labour unions said they had received from Telkom this week.

Employment equity is a government policy seeking to boost black participation in the workforce and management.

White males account for almost 40 percent of the senior and middle management positions that Telkom wants to reduce, while less than 9 percent of the population is white.

Solidarity said Telkom’s cuts might disproportionately target white workers.

“If I was a client I’d try and avoid this situation,” Joe Mothibi, a labour lawyer with Norton Rose Fulbright, said. “It’s not unfair discrimination to pursue affirmative action.”

The other criteria include qualifications, potential, length of service, and gender, according to a document the unions said they had received. - Bloomberg