Picture: Karen Sandison/African News Agency(ANA) Archives
JOHANNESBURG - The retrenchment of more than 2000 workers at digital satellite and pay-television company MultiChoice has been put on hold to allow for mediation by the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration, beginning with a session on Friday.

The Information Communications and Technology Union (Ictu), which represents some of the affected workers, said MultiChoice yesterday had issued an unconditional apology for unduly initiating the retrenchment process. Thabang Mothelo, the Ictu media officer, said MultiChoice had conceded to the suspension of the process and that there be communication to employees confirming suspension of retrenchments pending proper discussions.

“Ictu has submitted that there is a plethora of dismissal cases, and evidence thereof, where employees were targeted by means of harassment due to victimisation and/or placed under difficult circumstances due to the recruitment of Ictu since 2018,” Mothelo said. The union has insisted that management issued a communique to inform employees of changes in the process as well as their freedom to align with unions of their choice.

“We remain committed to participate in a process which is not already predetermined, and what MultiChoice has done in the process it will have difficulty to defend, without acknowledging that their actions have a material bearing on the retrenchments,” Mothelo said.

Newly listed MultiChoice on Friday said about 2194 workers in the call and service centre would be affected by the downsizing, which chief executive Calvo Mawela said had been structured to create new roles for multi-skilled employees.

"In a business driven by advancing technologies, we must continue to drive efficiencies, yet be agile enough to adapt to evolving customer needs to ensure that we remain relevant, competitive and sustainable,” Mawela said.

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