By Akutamadu Precious
Port Harcourt – Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Rivers chapter on Monday called on MTN Nigeria to revisit its labour policy to alleviate the sufferings of casual workers in the company.
NLC made the call while speaking with newsmen during the picketing of MTN office in Port Harcourt.
Mr Nkpogone Dumnaatah, the Chairman, Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Rivers wing, said that NLC’s picketing of MTN office was in response to the directives given by the union national headquarters.
Dumnaatah said that MTN over the years refused to convert the casual workers in its employment to permanent in line with the country’s labour policy.
“MTN has decided not to absorb its workers who have been in the service for more than 9 to 10 years as permanent staff and are also not allowed to belong to any labour union.
“The company has refused to carry out labour policy in the country despite every effort made by labour in several meetings to find solution to the plight of the workers,” he said.
Mr Sokari George, the Chairman of Rivers State branch of Judiciary Staff Union of Nigeria (JUSUN), Rivers State branch said that some of the MTN workers had been casual workers for more than the stipulated years by law.
George, who was represented by Mr Wachukwu Anthony, the Financial Secretary of JUSUN Rivers State branch said that labour policy allows a company with 50 workers to form or join a union.
He said that labour would not stop fighting for the cause until casual workers were made permanent.
George also advised MTN Nigeria to come to a round table discussion with labour to revisit the employment policy that would promote better welfare for its workers.
An MTN staff, who pleaded anonymity, called on Federal Government to put a check on all the companies in Nigeria where workers were being used as slaves with a view to calling them to order.
The worker said that MTN uses contractors, who act as third party thereby denying them of good salary and becoming full staff.
“We are suffering as workers because we are not paid or taken directly by MTN who claims to be our employer at the point of interview and tells us we will be paid by contractors.
“MTN has only one main office in this state but other offices are outlets managed by contractors, so we only work and make money for the company, while we are sacked at the slightest problem we face in the office.
“This is because we don’t communicate with our employer directly.
“Sometimes we are not paid for two to three months, we are used as mordern slaves and nobody speaks for us.
“Some of us who have worked for nine or 10 years sometimes get frustrated and resign without payoff from the company.
“We are calling on MTN to be fair to us in Nigeria like they are to our counterparts in other countries they operate because we are working hard to enrich the company.’’
NAN reports that every effort made to reach to the management of the company to speak with newsmen proved abortive as nobody was available to talk.