MTN Nigeria in trouble over 'unfair' labour practice

Wednesday July 11 2018

MTN Rwanda in Kigali. The South African firm is

MTN Rwanda in Kigali. The South African firm is facing protests in Lagos, Nigeria over alleged unfair labour practices. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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South African telco firm MTN is once again in trouble in Nigeria, this time over alleged unfair labour practices.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the umbrella body of more than 60 national trade unions, has vowed not to relent until the company respects workers’ rights.

NLC members on Tuesday chased workers out of the MTN Call Centre at Ojota, in the commercial capital Lagos.

The congress President, Mr Ayuba Wabba, oversaw the disruption of operations at the centre on the second day of picketing.

Work condition

NLC members started picketing at the company’s offices across states on Monday.

Mr Wabba said the congress would ensure that MTN Nigeria adhered to labour rules and provided improved work condition for its employees.

"We removed the wire used in barricading the gate of the office (headquarters), and NLC members went in and chased workers out,” he said.

The congress is particularly aggrieved by MTN hiring workers as casuals and barring them from joining labour unions.

Mr Wabba alleged that MTN treated Nigerian workers unfairly, compared to their counterparts in other Africa countries.

Phone operator

However, the MTN Corporate Affairs Executive, Mr Tobechukwu Okigbo, denied the allegations and explained that the company treated its workers in line with the world’s best practices.

MTN was in late 2015 fined $5.2 billion by Nigerian authorities for failure to disconnect some 5.2 million unregistered users from its network.

The South African firm is the largest mobile phone operator in Nigeria and the West African nation accounts for about one third of its revenues.

Its stock price sunk more than 25 per cent following the penalty announced on October 26 as the size of the fine was equivalent to more than two years profit for the firm.