Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) officials, on Tuesday, chased workers out of MTN Call Centre, Ojota, Lagos, in continuation of its picketing of the multinational company over alleged unfair labour practices.
NLC members led by the President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, arrived at the centre and disrupted operations on the second day of the picketing.
The congress started picketing the company’s offices across states on Monday.
Addressing MTN workers at Tuesday’s picketing, Wabba vowed that NLC would not relent until the company respected workers’ rights.
The NLC is picketing MTN Nigeria over alleged casualisation and non unionisation of workers.
Wabba said that the congress would ensure that MTN Nigeria adhered to labour rules and provided improved work condition for its workers.
He noted that NLC members disrupted the comoany’s operations on Monday when it began to picket the multinational company.
”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 NLC president said that the congress also chased workers out at the call centre in Ojota to ensure success of the picketing.
He alleged that MTN did not treat Nigerian workers well compared to treatment given to its workers in other Africa countries.
Mr Tobechukwu Okigbo, MTN’s Corporate Affairs Executive, however, denied the allegations on Monday.
Meanwhile, the Association of Licensed Telecommunications Operators of Nigeria (ALTON) says it will advise MTN Nigeria to consider preventive shutdown of network if its picketing by the organised labour leads to damage to telecoms facilities.
The ALTON Chairman, Mr Gbenga Adebayo, said that the shutdown would be necessary to avoid damage to network.
Adebayo made this known in a statement in Lagos.
He said that damage to telecom facilities would lead to disruption of critical national security and economic services which could expose citizens to danger.
“We hereby strongly request government and its law enforcement agencies to intervene expeditiously, otherwise the association will advise its member to consider preventive shutdown,’’ he said.
Adebayo said that disruption of operations of MTN through the picketing by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) would lead to poor quality of services which would affect the country as a whole.
“Members of ALTON are law-abiding organisations who are committed to best practices in all areas including labour-related matters.
“Employees of our members are able to join or form associations and unions if they so desire.
“However, the practice is that membership of associations and unions are voluntary, in line with fundamental human rights regarding freedom of association as guaranteed by the constitution.
“Individuals must not be compelled to join an association or union if they do not choose to do so,” he said.
The Borno State chapter of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), has also closed down MTN Nigeria in Maiduguri.
Alhaji Bulama Abiso, the Borno NLC Vice Chairman, on Tuesday, said that all congresses leaders were directed to mobilise their members to participate in the protest.
“The reasons are insensitivity to workers welfare and contract employment of MTN across the country, which must be stopped.
“Our workers are not slaves; they must be made permanent staff.
“For instance in Borno, there are over one million subscribers of MTN but with only two permanent staff in all offices; the rest are on three months renewable agreement.
“This is very much gross insensitivity to the workers welfare in the country.
“The Nigerian Labour Congress deems it fit to do the picketing. And if MTN refuses to comply, we will wait for the directive of our national body for further action.
“We are here today and we will be here for the next two days to ensure it complies with our demands. The whole MTN offices in Borno will not be allowed to continue operating until they address this insensitivity,” he said.
The MTN office in the Maitama District of Abuja, on Tuesday, was under lock and key, following the nationwide picketing of the company by NLC.
The office was locked with only policemen and other security personnel outside the gate.
A security man, who pleaded anonymity, said in Abuja that there was a directive from the MTN headquarters in Lagos that all staff of the organisation should not come to work until further notice.
“Maybe it is because of the protest by some people in our office in Lagos.
“We were told to come to office but all other staff of the organisation were asked to stay at home till further notice, ‘’ he said.