MTN said on Friday it had told 173 employees in its finance department they would need to apply for new or changed roles as part of its transformation plan.
MTN, like telecoms peer Vodacom, has been expanding into broader technology markets that allow its 276 million customers to, for example, make payments, shop online and control appliances using smartphones.
As part of the changes, the company said that last week employees in its finance department were issued so-called retrenchment notices to inform them of a restructuring.
“A total of 173 impacted people will be required to apply for the 205 new or changed roles,” MTN said, adding some roles would be outsourced.
The company said that, as part of its transformation, it had created more than 450 new jobs in areas such as digital, technology, financial technology, wholesale and enterprise.
Labour union Solidarity condemned MTN’s actions.
“MTN’s management is acting callously and immorally by announcing retrenchments while the company’s financial figures are indicating such a huge success,” it said in a statement.
The union added the changes were probably linked to MTN’s intended takeover of smaller rival Telkom, and if that was the case the company should go through the proper process for restructurings related to takeovers.
MTN said that was not the case, as its transformation plan had been underway for two years.