The possibility of a strike against local telecommunications giant MTN is “extremely high” as a key meeting with management was postponed, said a union.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has threatened strike action against MTN over the company’s plan to outsource call centre staff.
A meeting between the union and MTN was scheduled for Tuesday but has been postponed to a later date.
However, confusion exists over when this meeting is planned to take place.
CWU’s Secretary General Aubrey Tshabalala told Fin24 by phone on Tuesday afternoon that the meeting has been pushed back to Friday, August 19.
But in a statement issued on Tuesday, MTN said the meeting with the union is scheduled for Tuesday, August 23, sparking questions from Tshabalala.
“They [MTN] don’t even know if we [CWU] are available or not on the date,” Tshabalala told Fin24.
“I think that’s the crux of the matter. We’re the union that represents workers. Why do you have people joining a union if they’re not going to consult with a union?”
“They’re trying to avoid us,” Tshabalala said.
Meanwhile, Tshabalala told Fin24 on Tuesday afternoon that the threat of strike action against MTN is “extremely high”.
“To us a strike is always, should I say, the last option. But it’s always our strong tool to hit the employer,” Tshabalala told Fin24.
“If there’s no agreement and the employer insists on doing what he’s always doing, we have no choice [but] to embark on a strike.
“So it becomes clearer and clearer on a daily basis, ultimately it seems like workers will end up on the street. Because we’ll have nothing left to prove but to defend our jobs, we’ll be left with no other alternative,” said Tshabalala.
Meanwhile, MTN’s Chief Human Resources Officer, Nhlanhla Qwabe, said in a statement on Tuesday said that the company wants an “amicable resolution to the issues raised”.
A meeting between MTN staff and management over the planned outsourcing move is also scheduled for Wednesday, 17 August, said the company.