Raphael Ede, Enugu
The organised labour, on Monday, commenced picketing of the MTN Zonal office, in Enugu, which grounded all activities of the company.
The placards-carrying union members said that the action which was simultaneous nationwide and was the enforcement of decision by labour movement in Nigeria to fight modern day slavery which MTN is found culpable.
Some of the placards reads: ‘MTN is South Africa better than Nigeria, ‘MTN why are you treating staff in Nigeria like slaves’, MTN regularise workers appointment,’ among others.
Speaking to Daily Sun at the Enugu Zonal office of MTN, the chairman of Nigeria Labour Congress in the state, Comrade Virginus Nwobodo, who led the picketing exercise, said that the reasons for picketing the mobile telephone service provider was because over 70 per cent of their staff in Nigeria are casual workers, a situation he said the organised labour could not condole again.
Nwobodo lamented that the casualisation of workers had left Nigerian working with the telecommunications company without any right before the management, a situation he said had forced workers into slave labour. “Our workers are paid pittance just for them to survive against the gainful wages the company pay to their staff in other countries where they operate”.
“No fewer than 70 per cent of MTN staff in Nigeria are casual workers and none of these workers have received conformation of appointment between five to ten years. As such these workers are at the mercy of the management in terms of retaining their appointments.
“They don’t have the right to demand from management a better condition of service, increase wage and indeed general negotiations.
“MTN declare huge amount of profit in Nigeria yet their workers earned far less than their contemporary in the South Africa and other countries where they operate,” he regretted.
The NLC chairman, however, decried the arbitrary sack of the staff of the company in Nigeria because the members of staff were barred from belonging to the organised labour even against their constitutional right.
He accused the government of inaction and being insensitive to the plight of Nigerians working with multinational companies.
He continued, “I think the government of Nigeria, the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) as well as the Ministry of Labour and Productivity have not done well in playing their roles in terms of conformity to the laws in Nigeria by the Multi-nationals.”
Nwobodo said that the picketing would continue untill Wednesday after which if the company refused to allow labour unionism in the establishment, the organised labour will think about other options to drive home their demands.
In a reaction the Regional Sales Manager, Mrs. Blessing Amanze, said that MTN owns an outfit called MEMCOS, a cooperative society in charge of the workers welfare.
She, however, debunked the claim about casualisation of workers in the establishment and said that what they do was the use of third party employment system.