By Okuanwan Offiong
Lagos – Workers in the telecommunications sector on Tuesday gave a 14-day ultimatum to MTN Nigeria, to address unfair labour practices in the company to avoid action capable of disrupting its services.
The workers, under the aegis of Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) gave the ultimatum at a press conference on Tuesday in Lagos.
Mr Okonu Abdullahi, PTECSSAN General Secretary, said that the union had written several letters to the company’s chief executive but did not receive any response.
Abdullahi listed 13-point issues, including expert quota policy which MTN should tackle to avoid industrial action.
He said that the company should discontinue with expatriates because of an abuse of the policy.
”We have many expatriates in the company who do exactly the same job Nigerians do, there is the need to remove the expatriates,” the PTECSSAN scribe said.
He said that it was also regrettable that there was the prevelance of contract staff in MTN, which was disproportionate with what is obtainable in other countries in Africa.
According to him, over 70 per cent of workers in MTN are involved in precautions work, despite the huge profit the company is making from Nigeria.
He also said that the company should address the discriminatory structure in the emoluments of some categories of workers.
He said that workers on the same job level earn disproportionately, noting that in some cases, members of a team earn more than their direct managers.
Abdullahi further said there should be immediate review of emoluments of the employees to correct the inconsistency.
On condition of service, he said that Nigerians were the list paid and the policy should be reviewed.
Abdullahi called for an immediate signing of the Procedural Agreement as proposed by the union.
He said that both parties should commence negotiations on the Collective Bargaining Agreement to meet the yearnings of workers in the company.
”There is the need for regularisation of employment status of casual workers. MTN should recruit new employees to ease workload on existing workers,” he stressed.
The union scribe added that MTN should remedy all the employees relation issues to ensure peaceful industrial atmosphere.
However, Tobechukwu Okigbo, MTN’s Chief Corporate Services Officer, said the allegations over anti-labour activities were false.
Okigbo in a letter presented by Mr Funso Aina, MTN Senior Manager in charge of External Relations, said that the allegations were unsubstantiated and without any merit whatsoever.
According to him, over the years, MTN has built a ‘people first’ culture that empowers its employees, values inclusivity and hard work and instils 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 to people’s solutions and policies that make the organisation 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 strong culture of people management.
”The workforce are MTN most critical competitive advantage and a key differentiator in the marketplace, so the organisation takes staff welfare, remuneration and career development seriously,” he said.
Okigbo added that MTN has stringent policies in place that promoted meritocracy and protect employees from all forms of harassment and discrimination and created workplace where employees feel valued and safe.