Mobile operator MTN says that the principle of “No Work No Pay” will apply to striking workers.
I follows strike action outside the company’s head office in Johannesburg on Wednesday, which saw hundreds of MTN staff from the company’s call centres and service branches voicing their displeasure at Africa’s biggest telecoms company.
The Communications Workers’ Union (CWU) organised the strike and handed over a memorandum to MTN CEO Ahmad Faroukh calling for a 10% pay rise and bonus pay of 16% of its members annual salaries.
The CWU gave MTN seven days to respond.
MTN said in a statement on Thursday (21 May) that it is committed to finding a speedy and an amicable resolution to the industrial action.
MTN said that it respects the employees’ rights of assembly and association as enshrined in the constitution. It also respects the employees’ rights to protest as long as this is done within the confines of the law and the spirit of the Constitution.
The operator condemned reports of violence and intimidation on Wednesday.
“MTN has noted reports that the workers who are protesting have been intimidating and assaulting non striking workers. We condemn this criminal behaviour and we will take the necessary action against those who have been implicated.”
“Employees should know that in exercising their rights they don’t have to infringe upon the constitutional rights of other employees,” said MTN SA chief human resources officer, Themba Nyathi.
He said that MTN experienced intermittent service disruptions, but its core operations were running optimally.
“Our operations are still working optimally even though minor disturbances have been reported. Our network coverage across the country is working as well, however our call centre has been impacted but the impact was mitigated by re-routing calls to facilities that were not affected by the strike.”
“These call centres performed satisfactorily under trying circumstances. We shall continue to monitor the situation closely, periodically review the contingency plans we have in place and report on the impact,” Nyathi said.
Nyathi said MTN has reviewed some issues with a view to reaching an amicable and speedy solution to the impasse.
Low pay, insufficient weekend remuneration and a lack of transport money were the key reasons for why MTN staff say they had gone on strike this week.
Notably, MTN has reviewed the current bonus model which makes provision for an additional guaranteed 4% annual salary at the end of 2015 and a guaranteed 8.33% in March 2016 and every year thereafter.
“MTN’s new bonus model is better than the original demands by the union,” Nyathi said.
The group said it has also reinstated canteen subsidies which have been increased in response to employee feedback. The data limit for employees was reviewed and increased in line with personal usage. An extra SIM card was added to be used by any person of choice nominated by staff.
“We continue to offer highly competitive wellness benefits which are unrivaled in the market. We continuously benchmark our salaries and benefits with international standards and this is what gives MTN a compelling employer value proposition and gives us an edge to attract and retain the best talent,” Nyathi said.