The Nigeria Labour Congress on Monday picketed MTN Nigeria over alleged unfair labour practices.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that NLC members barricaded MTN Headquarters at Falomo, Ikoyi, Lagos, demanding unionisation of its workers, an end to casual employment and other anti-labour practices.
The NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, told journalists during the picketing that the organised labour would not tolerate deprivation or enslavement of the Nigerian worker.
Wabba said that MTN Nigeria refused to adhere to labour rules and allow its workers to belong to unions.
He said that the picketing was also going on in all MTN state offices.
He said that Nigerian workers deserved occupational health safety, adding that NLC would not allow any company to abuse workers’ right.
He said: “In MTN, all the workers are casual; they have no right to social protection, they are not allowed to freely bargain for a better work condition.
“A worker is sacked after working for three to four months. The worker is asked to re-apply. This is unfair, and we will not continue to allow it.”
He said that the NLC, Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, relevant unions and MTN management from South Africa held a meeting in Abuja on the issues but could not reach an agreement.
He said: “NLC told MTN to respect Nigeria labour laws but it refused; that is why workers are impoverished.
“We do not expect this treatment because it is a multinational company.”
The labour leader said that the organised labour would continue to protest until protection of the workers’ right.
Some of the placards carried by the NLC members at the picketing had inscriptions such as: “Nigerian Workers are not Slavess’’, “MTN Congested Network will Decongest Workers’ Wage”.
Responsing, Tobechukwu Okigbo, MTN Nigeria’s Corporate Relations Executive, said that the multinational company’s primary concerns were its employees’ safety and wellbeing.
Okigbo said that MTN Nigeria did not prevent its employees from associations, but owed them a duty to ensure they would not be compelled to join associations.
He said: “MTN supports freedom of association as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
“All workers have rights that should be protected.”
The MTN spokesman said that the organisation would ensure that it remained a place to work in, and that it would continue to champion protection of workers’ rights.