MTN strike is finally over, says new CEO

MTN has apologised over call centre disruptions. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)
MTN has apologised over call centre disruptions. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)

Johannesburg - The strike at MTN [JSE:MTN] by members of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) is finally over, said MTN's newly appointed SA CEO, Mteto Nyati on Thursday.

“The agreement serves the common interests of MTN and the employees, and allows MTN to focus on its core reason for existence, which is to deliver services to its customers,” said Nyati.

He said the union had accepted MTN's bonus and salary adjustment policies.

Nyati succeeded Ahmad Farroukh, whose resignation was announced last week.

The CWU said that striking members would go back to work, after being on strike since May 20, within two days of  signing the agreement.

In a statement, CWU said the agreement includes:

- An 8% bonus. The company had originally wanted to split it into two tranches of 4%, one paid in March and the other paid in December, which employees had rejected;

- From next year, members will receive 12% bonus whether or not the company has performed, said the CWU, which had originally pushed for a 16% bonus;

- All casual workers employed by the company will be converted to permanent employees;

- Payment for working on Sundays and public holidays will be backdated and "going forward the company will comply with the law of the country in this regard";

- The recognition agreement will be concluded within 30 days after signing the settlement agreement. The union's membership within MTN had to be audited to see if it reached the threshold for being recognised at the company;

- Parties will further engage on the issue of salary increases, together with outstanding issues. CWU's goal was an 8% increase, revised from 10%.

The CWU thanked its members for "being resolute".

"We are thankful for the support that we received from sister unions, the federation and civil society."

The strike saw the company's 808 call centres being suspended and some shops being chained shut, in addition to a constant police presence at its offices in Fairlands, west of Johannesburg, where picketers sometimes stoned or threatened passing vehicles. The company had to secure an interdict over this.

The South African company says it has 229 million subscribers in operations in 22 countries, which includes Afghanistan, Benin, Yemen, Uganda and Zambia.

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