Friday, June 21, 2019

BREAKING. Mass firing of staffers looming at MultiChoice as pay-TV operator plans to get rid of thousands of workers; 2 194 staffers affected.

Mass firings of staffers are coming to MultiChoice with the pay-TV operator running the DStv and GOtv satellite pay-TV service in South Africa and across sub-Saharan Africa planning to axe thousands of workers, planning to get rid of up to 2 194 workers.

MultiChoice's consultation process with staffers it wants to get rid of will take place over 60 days.

MultiChoice made the announcement of its retrenchment process to fire workers late on Friday afternoon, saying it will get rid of thousands of staffers in its call centre division and walk-in centres to restructure its "customer service delivery model".

MultiChoice says DStv subscribers have made use of the MultiChoice call centres less and less and emailed them less. MultiChoice's walk-in customer service centres have also seen a decrease in customers visiting.

"In contrast, self-service digital channels have continued to grow, now accounting for 70% of all our customer service contacts. The company is also in an environment where it will rely more on technology than people, as it faces increased competition from technologically advanced and unregulated OTT platforms."

MultiChoice says that the large retrenchment is because of the "changing behaviour of its customers, who are increasingly moving away from traditional voice calls and visits to walk-in centres and adopting new self-service and digital technologies to engage with the company".

"This has not been an easy decision to make but in a business driven by advancing technologies, we must continue to drive efficiencies yet be agile enough to adapt to evolving customer needs to ensure that we remain relevant, competitive and sustainable," says Calvo Mawela, MultiChoice CEO, in a statement issued on Friday.

"We must act decisively to align to the change in customer behaviour and competition from (over-the-top (OTT) services [like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video] because if we don't reposition now, we run the risk of being completely misaligned and we put everyone’s jobs at risk."

"The video entertainment sector is seeing a rapid evolution with a growing number of players that have entered the industry. We have worked hard to minimise the impact of this business realignment on our people - those directly impacted by the process and their colleagues in the rest of the business."

"As part of a comprehensive support programme agreed with unions and other employee representative forums, the company will be offering voluntary severance packages, wellness support and financial planning, and will continue paying for current studies for MultiChoice bursary-funded employees and relevant skills development among a range of benefits for impacted employees."

Trade union to fight job losses
The Information Communication and Technology Union (ICTU) trade union says that the union will fight MultiChoice's plan to fire workers and that the union was not consulted.

The ICTU in a statement says staffers were notified on Friday afternoon but the union has not been officially informed "which makes the process unlawful".

"The employer has just notified employees, today 21 June 2019, at 15:00 that it has identified 1 790 employees who are to be retrenched. The union has not been officially informed, which makes the process unlawful," Thabang Mothelo, ICTU spokesperson said.

"The employer has timed Friday to make an announcement which shows some cowardice tendencies of not dealing with the consequences of their actions."