The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has gone on strike today. The union, whose members include MTN employees, is demanding a 10% salary increase and larger bonuses.
MTN, one of the largest mobile service providers in South Africa and the largest telecoms operator in Africa, has released a statement saying that its distribution offices as well as its service and call centres will be affected by the CWU strike.
Call centre agents and IT technicians are amongst those who are striking.
The strikers have gathered outside of MTN’s Johannesburg offices to voice their demands.
Less than 30 percent of the employees from South Africa’s cellular phone corporations are represented by the CWU.
MTN’s Group Executive HR Manager, Themba Nyati said, “In order for the union to be recognised, they must have at least a 30 percent threshold of representatives. So from the unions that we have at MTN, CWU is sitting on 19 percent and then Solidarity is sitting at plus minus 4 percent.”
However, the Communication Workers Union president Clive Mervin said MTN has no choice but to acknowledge the union’s existence and presence.
In a press conference in Johannesburg on Tuesday he said, “It will be the first strike at MTN. It will be one of the biggest. We are even in critical places, we are entrenched in there. It’s call centres, stores, finance departments, IT, we are all over. All I can say is your network might be problematic tomorrow.”
He went on to say, “We’ve made it clear we’re willing to negotiate, but MTN can’t forever not recognise us. We’ve made a huge impact in MTN. KZN will be on strike, Western Cape will be on strike, Mpumalanga will be on strike, Limpopo will be on strike and the biggest of them all will be in Johannesburg.”
The strike comes in the wake of the telecoms provider announcing in March that their full year’s earnings have climbed 8.7 percent.