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MTN strike causes inconvenience for customers

By Staff Writer
In a press statement last week, mobile network provider MTN announced that some of its staff would be embarking on a strike.
 
MTN said in a statement: “MTN SA would like to assure all of its subscribers that it will do its best to provide customers with products and services at optimal levels, while some of the employees go on industrial action next week.”
 
However, in the week following this statement, MTN has reportedly had to close its call centres.
 
Today (26 May 2015), Ahmad Farroukh, CEO of MTN South Africa, has apologised to customers for the inconvenience caused by the strike.
 
“It is with great disappointment that our customers are subjected to the recent service experiences which are as a result of the strike. On behalf of MTN South Africa, I would like to extend my most sincere apology for this.”
 
He added: “I wish to assure our customers that we view this matter in a serious light and we are working tirelessly to ensure that all our support services are operational. We plan to fully restore our services soon.”
 
What are the employees demanding?
 
MTN revealed last week that it had engaged in discussions with its employees on a number of issues, which led MTN to announce several measures that it will introduce.
 
The first demand by employees is a review of the current bonus model. Employees are asking for a guaranteed thirteenth cheque.
 
MTN stated the following measure in response to this: “Level one and two employees will now qualify for a guaranteed 4% of annual salary at the end of each year (specifically in the 19 December 2015 payday).
 
“Level one and two employees will additionally get a guaranteed thirteenth cheque every year in March.  Both these four percent annual salary and the thirteenth cheque payments will be guaranteed irrespective of the company performance.”
 
In response to employees’ demands for the return of canteen subsidies, MTN has reintroduced and increased these subsidies.
 
Employees have also requested that cell phone allowances be re-examined. MTN announced: “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.”
 
According to reports, during the industrial action some of the striking workers have been intimidating non-striking workers.
 
Nyathi pointed out: “[MTN condemns] 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.”
 
What is MTN offering?
 
According to a statement released by MTN on Monday (25 May 2015), it is offering its employees “an eight percent guaranteed bonus which will be payable in two instalments. The first payment has already made in March 2015, and the second instalment will be payable in December 2015.”
 
MTN stated that this “offer exceeds the original staff demand for eight percent of bonus payment.”
 
According to Themba Nyathi, chief human resources executive for MTN South Africa, the company is not willing to implement a blanket ten percent salary increase, as MTN bases increases on individual performance.
 
“MTN will not replace its performance management system with a model that does not recognise personal contribution to performance. Any staff member can achieve any increase percentage if a specific performance target is met. This is Group wide policy affecting all 23 operations across the globe,” he said.
 
Nyathi added: “In the interests of resolving all matters of mutual interest, MTN hereby propose that an independent binding arbitrator be appointed to adjudicate the matters at hand. The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) or the Labour Court can facilitate such binding final arbitration in a fair, impartial manner. MTN undertakes to abide by the findings of such an arbitrator as final and binding.”

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