The Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, on Wednesday picketed the office of one of Nigeria’s telecommunications companies, telco, MTN, in Jos, the Plateau state capital, describing the way the organisation treats its staffers as “modern day slavery”.
Addressing journalists in front of the gate of MTN’s Yingi office in Jos, after picketing the office, Chairman of NLC in the State, Comrade Jibrin Bancir, warned that the organised labour is heading towards shutting down MTN Nigeria if the company failed to mend its ways after the picketing.
His words, “Over the years MTN Nigeria has been engage in unhealthy industrial practice, they place workers in casualisation from the top to the down, which is against our laws.
“The equally inscribe a company policy that their workers will not be unionise, that is they cannot belong to any union, and that is against the fundamentals of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“We classify MTN Nigeria is an extension of slavery in this modern age, and that is completely unacceptable to us. We will not at this modern age allow Nigerians under democratic setting to be treated in this manner.
“These are the basic things and we have engaged MTN over the years, both the Minister of Labour and NECA have intervened, but they have all breached those interventions.
“So, we felt it was necessary to picket them for three days and this is the first warning, because after this picketing certainly if they do not comply with all these demands, we are heading towards shutting down MTN in Nigeria.
“We have given them window of about three weeks to comply.”
Hinting on plans to picket other erring companies, Bancir said, “The fallen of the yellow leaf is a warning to the green one. There are so many organizations that are engage in casualisation even our local industries, this is a warning to them.
“Before now we have anti-casualisation committee in all the States, and here in Plateau State our committee has been working with so many of the organizations, and so many of them have been complying. So gradually we are getting over those issues.
“But MTN Nigeria is a very big one, their own has extended beyond only casualisation that’s why it hurts us, because we have engaged them over the years they refused to implement the agreements reached.
“There are other organizations that are engage in certain things, we are reaching them.
“We call on workers too, there are so many of them that are living in slavery in their organizations, but they have not reach out to us, so we don’t know.
“So let me use this opportunity to tell them, they should reach out to NLC, whereby their working condition is terrible. First and foremost we don’t want casualisation, is against the labour laws. Two, your freedom of association affects your fundamental constitutional breach, as a Nigerian. So where these two fundamental issues apply, please let the workers reach out to us.
“We are here to salvage them, is not good for us to leave as slaves in our country; we are working because we want to earn a living, but it must be decent.”
Meanwhile, efforts by journalists to get the reaction of MTN Nigeria in Jos proved abortive, as they were referred to the company’s corporate office.