MTN employees win court battle

Fin24 reports that twenty radio mast engineers employed by MTN in Durban have won an arbitration court battle that allows them to keep their personal company cars and petrol cards, after the cellphone giant argued these should be taken away. MTN had argued that the company would save money by ditching personal cars and petrol cards and pooling cars for the employees instead. The resulting savings would be a boost for the company’s shareholders, it argued.  Nationally, about 520 employees were affected by the decision. The employees’ attorney Dean Caro told News24 on Wednesday that, countrywide, four arbitrations by employees against MTN were instituted.

The Durban arbitration took more than two years. Commissioner Lester Sullivan had strong words for the MTN, saying that it “chose to drag out this matter”. He ordered that it pay the employees’ legal costs. In his ruling, Sullivan said that in general, the employees all said they had not been consulted. The personal use of the vehicles was a “benefit” which had persuaded them to work for the company. He said the argument that the employees tax saving would equal the loss of the use of the vehicles was “so ridiculous that if it were made honestly, one must question the intelligence of those who made this claim”.

by  Tania Broughton