Membership of the CWU among workers at MTN had been “deliberately kept below 10%”, the union said in a statement.
However, MTN has denied the claims.
CWU also said it was “experiencing high levels of ignorance” from the company’s human resources director Themba Nyathi. “We are at the stage where MTN defies the labour laws of our country as they refuse to consult the CWU as per the provisions of the Labour Relations Act,” the union said.
It said it did not regard the proposed retrenchments at MTN as “genuine”.
“MTN is using the current workers to train agents of companies which will take over immediately after the workers are retrenched,” the union said.
According to the CWU, MTN was “doing badly” on transformation as jobs were reserved for certain race groups and there was no affirmative action.
Commenting on the CWU’s statement, MTN’s Nyathi said the Labour Relations Act dictated that for a union to be afforded all rights it needed to have sufficient representation. “The CWU is not recognised at MTN by law due to poor and insufficient representation.
“The CWU only represents 6% of staff at MTN and mostly temps,” he added.
However, MTN out of sympathy and compassion for workers rights had decided to allow CWU to recruit members on the premises,” he said. “They are allowed to represent their few members at any forum within MTN.”
According to Nyathi, the company’s human resources department processed monthly CWU subscriptions through the MTN payroll. “Two years back, MTN gave CWU over R90 000 to assist in its union activities as a gesture of goodwill. If MTN is anti-union why would we fund their activities?”
Nyathi said despite the CWU’s lack of sufficient representation, MTN had allowed the union to represent some of its members during the restructuring process.
He said MTN SA was one of the 100 JSE listed companies that was subjected to section 43 of the Employment Equity Act by the department of labour in 2008.
“The team of senior management and specialists on EE [employment equity] from the department of labour scrutinised MTN on both procedural and substantive compliance on EE.
“On 8 December 2008, the department of labour presented the finding and recommendations to MTN.”
Nyathi said MTN continued to receive constructive feedback and guidance on transformational issues from the office of the labour department’s director general, Jimmy Manyi.
“If CWU does not agree with MTN’s outsourcing strategies and the objectives behind the current restructuring processes, it needs to sit down with us and stop running to the media,” Nyathi added. — Sapa