MultiChoice may retrench over 2,000 employees in its call centres and walk-in customer service centres, according to a statement from the ICTU trade union.
ICTU spokesperson Thabang Mothelo told MyBroadband that the plan was put in place without the union being consulted, and they are convening urgent meetings to address the issue.
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 said it will make new roles available for multi-skilled employees.
“This has not been an easy decision to make, but in a business driven by advancing technologies, we must continue to drive efficiencies yet be agile enough to adapt to evolving customer needs,” said Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice Group CEO.
“We must act decisively to align to the change in customer behaviour and competition from OTT services because if we don’t reposition now, we run the risk of being completely misaligned and we put everyone’s jobs at risk.”
Decline in phone calls
Over the past three years, MultiChoice has seen a decline in the number of customer telephone calls and emails into the call centres, it said.
Walk-in customer service centres have also seen less traffic.
“In contrast, self-service digital channels have continued to grow, now accounting for 70% of all our customer service contacts. The company is also in an environment where it will rely more on technology than people, as it faces increased competition from technologically advanced and unregulated OTT platforms.”
The OTT platform it is referring to is Netflix, and MultiChoice has previously stated that the government must ensure broadcasting and business rules are enforced on the streaming service.
MultiChoice said it will offer voluntary severance packages, wellness support, and financial planning to affected employees.
It will continue paying for current studies for MultiChoice bursary-funded employees and relevant skills development.
Mothelo, however, stated that their union was not briefed properly about the potential retrenchments, and plans to fight the move by MultiChoice.