MTN has called for independent arbitration in the stand-off between the company and the Communications Workers Union (CWU).
“In the interests of resolving all matters of mutual interest, MTN hereby propose that an independent binding arbitrator be appointed to adjudicate the matters at hand,” says Themba Nyathi, chief human resources executive at MTN South Africa.

“The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) or the Labour Court can facilitate such binding final arbitration in a fair, impartial manner. MTN undertakes to abide by the findings of such an arbitrator as final and binding.”

The company has reiterated its offer to striking employees of an 8% guaranteed bonus, payable in two installments.

MTN maintains that its current bonus offer is better than what was demanded initially. The first installment of the payment was made in March 2015, and the second instalment will be payable in December 2015.

MTN has also welcomed the establishment of a task team to look into payment for Sundays and public holidays in accordance with the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

Nyathi comments: “The current revised MTN bonus model for 2015 and beyond is comprehensive, visionary and exceeds all previous expectations and demands. This is groupwide policy affecting all 23 operations across the globe. This offer is indicative of our commitment to resolve this matter speedily and amicably and it also demonstrates the competitiveness of our remuneration practises and our commitment to meet our statutory obligations.”

The CWU is also demanding a 10% salary increase, but Nyathi says increases won’t be applied uniformally as they are tied to performance targets.

“MTN will not replace its performance management system with a model that does not recognise personal contribution to performance. Any staff member can achieve any increase percentage if a specific performance target is met.
This is groupwide policy affecting all 23 operations across the globe,” he says.

Regarding the outstanding issue of MTN’s non-recognition of the CWU, Nyathi welcomed the audit of CWU membership to ascertain whether it meets the required 30% membership threshold to qualify for recognition.

Nyathi has also resonded to the demand for conversion of non-permanent staff members to permanent employees, saying that outsourced service employees are not temporary employees and any outsourced services need to comply with Section 197 of the Labour relations Act.