Cellphone network service MTN and trade union Solidarity would meet over the company’s plans to retrench managerial staff in South Africa, Solidarity said on Friday.
“This comes after the mobile network operator initially failed to duly consult about the retrenchment process,” said communications industry spokesman Marius Croucamp in a statement.
The meeting between the two was expected to take place on Monday.
On Monday, MTN said it had begun a process of internal staff consultations on a proposed organisational restructuring for better efficiencies.
Chief human relations officer Themba Nyathi said the consultation was still at an early stage and the market would be informed when key decisions had been made.
“This is part of the ongoing process of renewal that allows us to deliver the strategic investments and product innovations.”
The process would also allow provision of new services and ensure MTN’s sustained competitiveness in a rapidly evolving market.
It was not immediately clear when the retrenchments would take place.
Croucamp said MTN’s willingness to consult with Solidarity was a step in the right direction.
Solidarity was moreover positive that the meeting would shed more light on the actual extent of the retrenchment process, he said.
“Solidarity was reliably informed that MTN is already considering announcing further retrenchment processes after the current one has been completed. The full extent of MTN’s restructuring plans must be established urgently.”
These and other issues would be discussed with the company when the two parties met.
“We will also formally object to the company’s timelines for the process that, for example, allows just a few days for the 847 affected employees to suggest alternatives to retrenchment and for MTN’s management to consider the suggestions.”
Croucamp said it would be impossible for MTN’s management to give serious consideration to employees’ suggestions in such a short period of time.
It appeared from the notice MTN sent out to its employees that the biggest reason for the layoffs was the company’s inability to measure up to its competitors.
“The solution for the problems MTN mentions therefore cannot be found in layoffs, but in the company’s marketing and product development strategies,” Croucamp said.