MTN’s call centre was closed on Sunday as the strike over pay and bonuses at the company continued.
“Dear customers, please note that our services have been disrupted and the call centre has been closed. Please use our self help options. We apologise for any inconvenience caused,” a recorded message said.
Last week, the cellular communications company also had to close its e-billing portal after security flaws were exposed.
Communication Workers Union Deputy General Secretary Thabo Mogalane told News24 the union had reached an agreement with MTN over many of the disputed issues already, and it was just the approximately 3 000 staffers’ bonuses and salary increase that was outstanding.
Call centre staff in Gauteng and Limpopo had been on a go slow, and then went on a protected strike last Wednesday.
Representatives of the union and MTN would meet again on Monday for feedback on revised positions.
Mogalane said so far the issues resolved included an agreement to convert casual staffers into permanent staff employed by MTN; double pay for working on a Sunday or a public holiday; and that the dispute over whether they had enough union members at MTN to be recognised, would be dealt with in an audit process starting on Tuesday.
On the issue of the bonus, CWU had dropped its demand from 16% to 12%, and on salary increases, from 10% to eight percent.
MTN’s position on the bonus was that four percent had been given to workers already, and another four percent be given in December 2015. Its position on the increase was that it be determined by performance in the company and that the company was open to negotiate or move away from performance-based increases.
“The strike therefore continues on May the 25th until an agreement with the company is reached,” said a notice by Mogalane on the union’s Facebook page.
Comment from MTN on the call centre being closed was not immediately available on Sunday, but in previous press releases, the company said it was trying to resolve the strike.
It added that canteen subsidies had been returned and increased in response to employee feedback.
The data limit for employees was reviewed and increased in line with personal usage and an extra SIM card was added to be used by any person of choice nominated by staff. Medical aid and wellness benefits remain unchanged. Although year-end functions were removed in an attempt to contain cost, a subsidy was provided per employee.
“MTN refutes as grossly incorrect claims by the CWU that it had historically given its staff a 30% bonus,” it said.
It said that as part of its pay offers, Sunday and public holidays would be paid according to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
It denied that it had temporary staff, or labour brokers as such and said its operational services were outsourced.
On the issue of e-billing, Fin24 reported that it was closed after technology publication TechCentral reported that a reader found that it was not encrypted and required no login or confirmation of identity.
MTN said it would send bills by email while this is resolved.