Strike action against MTN 'imminent', warns union

Johannesburg - The Communication Workers Union (CWU) said on Thursday that strike action against MTN was imminent.

This after the service provider announced its decision to outsource a portion of its call centre facility to a third-party vendor.

“Strike action is imminent and could start at any time as MTN management has been mischievous and dishonest," CWU President, Clyde Mervin, told Fin24.

“This is unfair treatment and we will show them that they cannot play with people’s lives. The last strike lasted two months and we will do it again if we must,” he said.

Mervin said at least 400 casual workers would be affected by outsourcing as MTN planned to have the process of appointing a new call centre facility completed by September.

“We are going to engage with MTN and are currently seeking a legal opinion,” Mervin told Fin24.

READ: Union calls MTN outsourcing a 'jobs bloodbath'

Meanwhile, MTN said that it has held discussions with the union.

In a statement to Fin24, MTN's chief human resources officer, Nhlanhla Qwabe, said that management believed in constructive engagement with all its stakeholders, and would welcome further discussions and consultations with the unions on the matter.

“MTN is implementing on its strategy of transforming customer experience, an important component to our strategy that the union has been fully appraised of," Qwabe told Fin24.

“The unions may have expressed differences of opinion regarding the planned approach, but this does not negate the fact that discussions and consultations with the union on this matter took place," Qwabe said.

Last year from May 20, MTN staff embarked on a strike over bonuses, the conversion of casual staff into permanent staff, back-pay and overtime payment. The previous strike lasted until July 16, 2015.

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