MTN has launched its transformation strategy in 2020
Photo by Gallo Images/Fani Mahuntsi
- MTN claims Solidarity union’s statement citing layoffs at mobile operator is callous ‘scaremongering’
- The trade union “Solidarity” has lashed out at MTN for planning a “retrenchment process”, calling it a callous and immoral move given its strong financial performance.
- But the mobile operator defended the message, saying it served as an official announcement of its transformation process, will continue its digital transformation strategy, which will lead to the creation of 450 new jobs.
- Get the most important business stories by email every weekday or go to the Fin24 homepage.
MTN says the Solidarity union’s statement citing layoffs at the mobile operator is callous “fear mongering”. The company said it will continue with its digital transformation strategy, which will lead to the creation of 450 new jobs.
The telecoms giant has come under the Solidarity spotlight after sending out Article 189 notices to its staff last week.
In a statement on its website on Friday, the union hit out at MTN for planning a “retrenchment process”, calling it a callous and immoral move given its strong financial performance.
Solidarity also criticized the timing of MTN’s announcement, saying that with inflation and rising fuel prices, people are already struggling to stay afloat.
“Solidarity… finds it difficult to view these cuts through any lens other than that colored by the proposed Telkom takeover of MTN,” it said.
But the mobile operator defended the announcement, saying it served as an official announcement of its transformation process, which began in 2020. The 450 new jobs will be in digital, technology, financial technology and wholesale.
MTN corporate affairs executive Jackie O’Sullivan explained that the notice is a legal requirement to inform employees of the conversion process and that it will affect some roles.
This means 173 people will have to apply for 205 new or restructured roles, while some positions will be outsourced.
READ | Rain in hot water over Telkom bid – but it could still beat MTN, analysts say
Regarding Solidarity’s statement, O’Sullivan said: “It is unfortunate that Solidarity has chosen to adopt a false and deliberately alarmist narrative which seeks to create a completely false link between a project which has been in the works for two years and a potential acquisition [of Telkom] which is at its most embryonic stage.”
She added that the telecoms group would focus on retraining, upskilling and redeploying staff to other parts of the business, with layoffs as a last resort. She said the union’s “crude fear-mongering” was insensitive and unfair.
The group, which released its interim results for the six months ended 30 years ago, this week showed strong results, with half-year profits up 47% and subscribers growing to nearly 282 million.
Although this happened in half a year, the telecommunications giant warned of price increases in some markets.
While MTN did not elaborate on the increase, it said: “Subject to regulatory approval, we plan to implement moderate price increases in some markets where inflationary pressures have increased.
“There are select other markets where pricing changes are potentially being explored through measures such as reducing discounting if it is too deep, which will help drive efficient pricing and cost for our customers.”
The timing of these price changes will be decided on a case-by-case basis following discussions with the authorities and implementation of the group’s strategies.