Anti-MTN labour unrest threatens nationwide network connectivity

Anti-MTN labour unrest threatens nationwide network connectivity

By Joy Obakeye

Without an amicable resolution, millions of Nigerians may soon experience network disruption as an affiliate of the Nigeria Labour Union (NLC) takes on telecommunications giant, MTN.

Daily Times gathered that Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) condemned what it described as demoralizing employee relations by South Africa based telecommunications firm, vowing to disrupt its services.

“MTN practices an unwholesome, insensitive and discriminatory structure in the emoluments of some categories of workers. Workers on the same job level earn disproportionately. In many cases members of a team earn more than their team leads and even more than their direct managers.

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“Non-payment of severance benefits at the point of departure of employees after long years of dedicated and uninterrupted services to the company has become a deep frustrating practice to workers in MTN.

The company claims it has not been paying exiting employees severance benefits hence; it cannot be a matter for negotiation with the union despite the fact that social dialogue demands that all matters without exception concerning workers in the workplace are subject to negotiation,” PTECSSAN said.

“We restate that if our demands are not fully and appropriately complied with by MTN Nigeria Telecommunications Limited on or before the next 14 days from today, we shall withdraw every guarantee of industrial peace within MTN Nigeria. Services may be disrupted across the nation throughout the network from the midnight of the 24th day of August, 2020,” said a statement signed by the President and General Secretary of the union, Comrade Opeyemi Tomori and Okonu Abdullahi.

The association noted further: “The rate at which companies in the telecommunications sector import excessive manpower to the country to do jobs Nigerians are not lacking in competence is alarming. It is becoming pervasive in MTN Nigeria as well. We have several expatriates in the company who do exactly what Nigerians do. Most of these expatriates are trained by Nigerians and we still wonder how the permits for these individuals were approved.”

But in a statement obtained by Daily Times, MTN’s Chief Corporate Services Officer, Tobechukwu Okigbo, said the allegations are totally unsubstantiated and without any merit whatsoever. According to him, over the years, MTN has built a ‘people first’ culture that empowers its employees. Okigbo said the company values inclusivity and hard work and instills a responsibility for its customers and communities.

“This is what defines and unites us. MTN cares greatly about all its workers, deploying global best practice people solutions and policies that make MTN Nigeria a great place to work. We intentionally invest in our people. Indeed, MTN’s success in Nigeria is as a result of the hard work, commitment and dedication of all staff, guided by a strong culture of people management.

“Our people/workforce are our most critical competitive advantage and a key differentiator in the marketplace so we take staff welfare, remuneration and career development seriously. We have stringent policies in place that promote meritocracy and protect our employees from all forms of harassment and discrimination and creates a workplace where employees feel valued and safe,” he said.

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