Customer service consultants at Africa’s biggest mobile network MTN briefly took their grievances about bonus pay to the streets on Wednesday in what has been called an unprotected strike.
[contextly_sidebar id=”zQDZq4yqyzCs1AwP3CMg6tF4vVeB1q1C”]Reports indicate that about 250 MTN customer service consultants protested outside the company’s Johannesburg headquarters on Wednesday.
The staff were expressing their unhappiness over a bonus of 4% of their annual salaries. This figure is said to be lower than previous bonuses of 30% of their annual salaries.
The staff in turn rather want a thirteenth cheque or an ex gratia amount above 4%.
“It was definitely an unprotected strike; there was no notice,” MTN’s Chief Human Resources Officer Themba Nyati told Fin24.
“The numbers (of staff involved in the protest) have not been confirmed because staff asked to be addressed by management over bonuses,” Nyati said.
The work stoppage, though, only lasted a few minutes with management addressing the staff’s issues, according to Nyati.
Nyati further told Fin24 that “MTN is looking at resolving all issues raised to correct any misconceptions and misunderstandings”.
“Feedback will be given to staff,” said Nyati.
Nyati also told Fin24 that MTN has no recognised unions.
“However, some unions were around to address their members about the consequences of unprotected illegal work stoppages,” said Nyati.
MTN – which has 26 million subscribers in South Africa and over 200 million users across its entire Africa and Mideast operations – is in the process of cutting costs.
The company is undergoing retrenchments as competition and falling voice revenues have hit it hard, especially in its South African market.
MTN is said to have 7 000 employees in South Africa. Last year, reports emerged that the operator issued retrenchment notices to over 800 staff.