The call was made between the two parties on Monday, communications industry spokesman Marius Croucamp said in a statement.
Although MTN was willing for the first time to lessen the impact of the process on employees, the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation, and Arbitration (CCMA) should still facilitate the process.
“In view of the nature and the extent of the retrenchment process, Solidarity believes it will be in its members’ best interest if an objective party like the CCMA facilitates the process,” Croucamp said.
There was a possibility MTN could extend the consultation period of the retrenchment process, but this had not been officially confirmed yet.
“The company initially failed to give Solidarity sufficient time to consult properly over the layoffs,” he said.
“MTN moreover neglected to invite Solidarity to consult over the retrenchment process as is usually the case during layoffs.”
However, the union was cautiously optimistic that a new working relationship had developed and proper consultation could take place.
The union expected to receive MTN’s answer this week to its request for the CCMA be involved.
Croucamp said MTN notified Solidarity on August 22 of its intention to implement a restructuring process that would affect up to 847 managers.
MTN chief human resources officer Themba Nyathi said MTN invited Solidarity and the Communication Workers Union for talks.
“MTN asked for union counter proposals on section 189 letters. The unions advised that they would appreciate CCMA or independent facilitation,” he said in an e-mail to Sapa.
“They also asked for the extension of the notice period from October 2014 to November 2014. MTN welcomes all proposals in the spirit of meaningful consultations. When we consult we expect such creative ideas.”
He said by law, CCMA facilitation could be asked for by any recognised union. In the case where a recognised union did not exist, parties could reach consensus on CCMA facilitation.
“MTN has no recognised trade unions as membership is too low.
The company promised the unions their proposals would be discussed at an executive committee meeting on Wednesday.