Telecom group MTN has sent an Article 189 austerity notice to employees as it embarks on a new restructuring process at its company.
According to the announcement, the company is repositioning itself in the market and shifting its strategy to become a digital service provider – not just a telecommunications company.
To achieve this, it said, some functions within the company’s finance department are changing to align with strategy. These changes affect the jobs of 327 Level 1 and Level 2 employees in the department (8.6% of the total number of employees).
The company said a final decision on the process has not yet been made as it will continue to talk to employees about the matter; however, it said the process could ultimately lead to the reduction of 136 employees (3.6% of the total workforce).
“Once the consultation process around the proposed structure has been completed, all affected employees in the Level 1/Level 2 structure will be given the opportunity to apply for new and/or available positions,” it said.
If it becomes necessary to cut spending as a last resort, the company said it will look first at early retirement and voluntary severance packages, or seek alternative jobs for employees within the company.
It will also consider dismissed workers for preferential redeployment for a period of three months from the date of dismissal.
Union Solidarity slammed MTN’s announcement, calling the company “immoral” as it contemplates austerity measures while many workers are suffering from the current economic climate.
“MTN’s behavior towards its employees is immoral, and in times when inflation and fuel prices are skyrocketing and even those lucky enough to have a job struggle to keep their heads above water, the company is playing with people’s lives.” said.
The union pointed out that the company made more than R14 billion in profits in the past fiscal year and exceeded all its targets, but still insisted on reducing its workforce.
“To lay off such a significant portion of your workforce despite billions in profits that even exceeded the company’s own expectations paints a harrowing picture of South African society and the role major corporations like MTN play in it,” the union said. .
Solidarity said it would challenge austerity.
responding to solidarity, MTN told MyBroadband that it was disappointing that the union chose to follow “a false and deliberately alarming story”.
“Our people are the backbone of our business and in this current difficult economic environment, austerity will remain a very last resort,” it said.
The group added that it is creating more than 450 new jobs in digital, technology, financial technology, wholesale and corporate spaces.
“The reform of certain departments requires some employees to apply for revised or new roles,” it said.
MTN said the Section 189 communication serves to legally inform employees that a transformation process is underway that could impact some roles.
However, it stressed that those affected will be able to apply for these new positions that will be released within the company.
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