MTN has apologised in advance for any service disruptions customers may experience as a result of a union strike taking place next week.
On 15 May the Communication Workers Union announced that 2,000 of its members would go on strike to demand higher bonus payments.
The planned industrial action is set to take place on 20 May, and may lead to delays while trying to reach MTN’s call centres, it said.
The group maintained that it will “do its best” to provide products and services at optimal levels while the strike goes on.
Striking for higher bonuses
In March, disgruntled MTN employees staged a protest demanding performance-linked pay after MTN South Africa said it will not make any additional performance bonus payments to employees for the 2014 financial year.
According to its annual report for the 2014 financial year, the minimum financial targets for bonuses were not achieved by MTN South Africa.
As a result, no bonuses were declared, with the exception of the minimum guaranteed 4% payable to lower-level employees.
However, MTN South Africa MD Ahmad Farroukh took home R17.5 million, including a R6.6 million bonus in 2014.
MTN Group president and CEO Sifiso Dabengwa took home a total sum of R28.1 million in 2014, including a R13.3 million bonus and share gains of R3.5 million.
Currently, MTN offers employees a guaranteed 4% bonus and 13th cheque, irrespective of how the company performs in the financial year.
Workers are demanding a guaranteed bonus of 16%.
The CWU is also seeking a 10% salary increase, higher pay for work done over weekends and holidays, as well as for contractors to be made full-time employees.
MTN bites back
MTN has refuted a number of claims made by the union, including that it had historically offered 30% bonuses to staff.
The group pointed out that weekend and holiday pay was in-line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and that it has no temporary workers.
“Our operational services are outsourced,” it said.
The group also pointed to recent benefits it has given to staff, including a return and increase of canteen subsidies; increased cellphone benefits; and a subsidy in lieu of a year-end function.
“MTN SA continues to benchmark its pay and benefits offerings against the best in the market. As such, we must continue to stay competitive in order to attract, retain and develop top talent.”