Johannesburg - MTN said on Monday it would not budge on its offer to striking employees.
The telecoms giant pledged to bring the disrupted operations into full operational mode, safeguard the lives of non-striking employees and protect its infrastructure and facilities.
“The strike has had minimal impact on MTN’s core operations which are running optimally. Reports that the strike has culminated in the bulk suspension of customers is baseless, sensationalist and alarmist,” said Themba Nyathi, Human Resource Executive: MTN South Africa, in a statement.
“The only areas affected are some of the distribution and service centres. The 808 call centre is back online, though it is not yet fully operational. MTN has undertaken to bring these operations into full operational mode by the end of the week.”
Nyathi said MTN had noted with concern the disruptive conduct of employees who continued to burn tyres on the MTN premises in Fairland, Johannesburg, intimidate non-striking employees and barricade the main exits, thus infringing upon the rights of other employees and the company’s right to conduct business.
“This unruly conduct is in violation of the picketing agreement that MTN signed with the Communications Workers Union (CWU). MTN will be taking stern measures to safeguard its employees and protect its right to conduct business and offer services to its customers in line with its licence obligations.”
Nyathi added that MTN was offering an 8-percent guaranteed bonus which would be payable in two installments, and the first payment was made in March 2015, and the second installment would be payable in December 2015.
“MTN maintains that this offer exceeds the original staff demand for eight percent of bonus payment. In addition, MTN has welcomed the establishment of a task team to look into payment for Sundays and public holidays in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.”
MTN maintained that their offer was better than what the CWU demanded initially.
Nyathi said as a law-abiding and responsible corporate citizen, MTN respected the employees’ rights of assembly and association as enshrined in the constitution, and the employees’ rights to protest as long as this was done within the confines of the law.
MTN has deployed extra security personnel as a precautionary measure to safeguard non-striking employees and protect its infrastructure and facilities.
“MTN will take disciplinary steps and lay criminal charges against employees who are implicated in acts of criminality. Resorting to acts of violence and intimidation is not in the spirit of negotiations and violates the laws of the land,” he said.
Nyathi said the current revised MTN bonus model for 2015 and beyond was comprehensive, visionary and exceeded all previous expectations and demands.
MTN had proposed for an independent arbitrator to adjudicate on the matter in a fair and impartial manner, Nyathi said. “MTN undertakes to abide by the findings of such an arbitrator as final and binding.”
The Deputy General Secretary of CWU, Thabo Mugalane, would not comment and stated that the union would be meeting with MTN on Monday at 2pm to discuss the matter.