News : Union to Embark on Secondary Strike Against MTN
Johannesburg, South Africa, June 5, 2015 -- The Communication Workers Union (CWU) on Friday announced plans for a secondary strike against Africa’s cellphone service provider MTN for a total boycott of the company’s services.
"Notice of a secondary strike, meaning all companies in the value chain of MTN, will be served on Monday 8 [June] with a notice of our intention to embark on a secondary strike," CWU secretary general Aubrey Tshabalala told journalists in Johannesburg.
"On Sunday, we are meeting with a number of our allies to discuss our strategy in terms of boycotting MTN services."
He added that no MTN employees were available to pick up calls at the MTN call centre, while its retail shops were not operating optimally.
The company has outsourced its core services to other service providers because of the unavailability of staff on duty to perform tasks and provide a service to the public.
Workers at organisations where CWU organised protests, such as Sentech and Telkom and other telecommunication and broadband companies would be asked to embark on a sympathy strike to bring MTN onto its knees, Tshabalala said.
On May 20, MTN employees embarked on a wage strike in which they demanded a 10 percent pay hike. MTN, in response, offered an eight percent salary increase. Following this, the two parties were able to agree on bonuses, where CWU demanded 16 percent of the workers’ annual salaries.
The two parties had further agreed on double pay for work performed on Sundays and public holidays, conversion of casual workers to permanent, and a recognition agreement based on the increase of union membership and an establishment of a task team comprising of workers and a remuneration officer that would investigate remuneration amounts.
CWU deputy general secretary, Thabo Mogalane said there was not a leadership structure at MTN, and they had attempted communication with MTN executive management and board members.
"The problem at MTN is with two people, the CEO Ahmad Farouk and head of human resources, Themba Nyathi. They are deliberately stalling the process," he said.
"In twenty years in organised labour, we have never seen such lack of leadership. We would sit in negotiations, and if we disagree, the CEO stages a walk out. His behaviour as a senior executive is something we have not seen before."
Tshabalala said the union’s legal department would immediately approach the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) to mediate in the dispute.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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