MultiChoice workers are planning a “first historic” nationwide strike starting tomorrow to protest against job cuts at the company.
The Information Communication Technology Union (ICTU) said the “grossly underpaid and most vulnerable workers of MultiChoice SA has drawn line in the sand”.
It is understood that MultiChoice call centre staff across South Africa will down tools after voting in favour of a strike.
The union said the “historic strike” is expected to inconvenience all MultiChoice’s 7.7 million DStv customers in South Africa who have payment or service queries.
“This strike comes at the time when MultiChoice has deployed new integrated billing system on 21 August and it is experiencing its own failures,” the ICTU said.
“It is expected that the strike action will be adding fuel to the fire.”
“ICTU will not stand by the sideways and allow workers to be retrenched under fictitious reasons simply because 4IR has arrived,” the union said.
“What irritate workers most is that MultiChoice has secretly entered into a third party agreement to service clients to perform current functions yet they claim technological usage is the reason to retrench.”
MultiChoice job cuts
In June the ICTU said MultiChoice may retrench over 2,000 employees in its call centres and walk-in customer service centres.
ICTU spokesperson Thabang Mothelo told MyBroadband that the plan was put in place without the union being consulted.
In a statement to media, MultiChoice said that it will enter into a consultation process with 2,194 of its employees “within Customer Care and the Walk-in Centres”.
This is part of the “strategic realignment of its customer service delivery model”, said the company.
“The realignment is a response to the changing behaviour of its customers, who are increasingly moving away from traditional voice calls and visits to Walk-in Centres and adopting new self-service and digital technologies to engage with the company.”
MultiChoice group executive for corporate affairs Joe Heshu said they are disappointed at the call for a strike by ICTU.
“We remain committed to continue to consult with labour on the proposed restructure in our customer care division under the guidance of the CCMA appointed commissioner in line with the LRA,” said Heshu.
“The threatened strike action is not only unprotected, it is also illegal. We call on all parties to act in a manner that will ensure the best outcome for impacted employees.”