MTN dismisses CWU allegations, reaffirms its offer, commitment to end strike
MTN has noted the statements attributed to the Communications Workers Union (CWU) which seek to defile the reputation of MTN by levelling unfounded allegations against the company.
MTN has welcomed the audit of CWU membership at MTN by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to verify whether it meets the required 30% membership threshold to qualify for recognition. MTN has repeatedly maintained it is not opposed to collective bargaining and recognition of the CWU, provided its membership at MTN is fully audited.
MTN has tabled an offer of 8% to the CWU and the organisation remains firm on this offer as it meets and exceeds the original demands by the CWU. The CWU is shifting the goalposts on its bonus demands and MTN remains firm on its offer.
MTN also dismissed allegations that it has outsourced its core functions to third parties. "The reality is the core functions of the company have not been affected by the strike, the only areas that were affected by disruptions are support services such as the call centre and some areas in the distribution network.
"Normal operations have commenced, and we expect operations to be fully restored shortly," says Themba Nyathi, Chief Human Resources Officer: MTN South Africa.
Nyathi scoffed at allegations that MTN has threatened employees with dismissal and withdrawal of benefits, saying these allegations are baseless and are meant to give credence to the strike that is losing momentum and credibility. He remains hopeful for a speedy resolution as the company is very concerned about the well-being of its employees.
"It is normal practice that when employees embark on industrial action, the policy of no work no pay applies. The application of this rule to this strike is not an anomaly and MTN reserves the right to apply this as stipulated in the Labour Relations Act, but we are very concerned for the employees which we think are being misled; we are aware that this will not only affect them but their loved ones as well. We urge them to reconsider," Nyathi adds.
Responding to threats by the CWU to rally sister unions to boycott MTN products, Nyathi says the CWU is free to exercise available options at its disposal, provided these are within the confines of the law. "MTN remains committed to its customers and the company continuously explores different avenues of ensuring that it provides its subscribers with the quality of service they have come to expect from MTN," says Nyathi.
He adds: "A legally binding arbitration process is the only way that MTN and the CWU can end the current industrial action. The arbitration process will ensure that an independent party who does not have a vested interest in this matter can adjudicate on this matter in a fair and impartial manner. MTN has repeatedly said that it will abide by the findings of the arbitrator, and we urge the CWU to stop being populist and consider acceding to this process, as it is the most practical and fair manner of ending this stalemate."
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: "MTN".
As at the end of 30 June 2010, MTN recorded 129.2 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. The MTN Group is a global sponsor of the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa and has exclusive mobile content rights for Africa and the Middle East. Visit http://www.mtn.com and http://www.mtnfootball.com.