The Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC, on Monday picketed MTN’s office in Kano and Bauchi, following what they termed hostile working environment for the workers.
The picketing, which started at about 6.30am, led to the total grounding of activities at the office, as Kano NLC Chairman, Comrade Kabiru Ado Minjibir said the action was a directive from the union headquarters and is a nationwide exercise.
Also in Bauchi, chairman of the state chapter of NLC, Comrade Hashimu Gital, said the office of the telecommunications giant’s was being closed in order to advance a better working condition for the workforce.
Gital stressed that workers are entitled to better working conditions, accusing MTN of regularly renewing employment contract with its workers as a way of shying away from the responsibility of paying gratuity and pensions.
As for Minjibir, he said, “ the picketing became inevitable as the company has refused to heed advice to stop its inhuman treatment of workers. About 80% of the staff are casuals and they are not allowed to unionized which is against the International Labour Organisation treaty.”
The NLC Chairman said the union has being in discussion with the company for over a year to correct there ways of addressing workers issues which are mostly slavery like.He insisted that they would not leave the frontage of the MTN office until they are directed from the NLC headquarters.
The labour union was supported by civil society organizations that included Centre for Awareness and Justice, CAJA.
Speaking to reporters at the MTN office, CAJA Executive Director Comrade Kabir Saidu Dakata said the picketing is supported by the CSOs considering that NLC is the only mouthpiece of the masses in Nigeria as the government has failed to protect the common man.
While giving the telecoms company three days to resolve its grievances, Bauchi state NLC said, “MTN, which all of us are aware of, every three months, they sack the workers and give them a new contract. This is not acceptable. Our law do not accept that, and those workers need to be liberated.
“We need to tell them that they need to respect the laws of the country. They need to also respect our own labour laws but most importantly, they must respect human and trade union rights.
“Workers have dignity, workers are not slaves and therefore, all workers must be treated with the best of attention.
“Injury to the workers at MTN is an injury to all Nigerian workers,” Gital stated.
Meanwhile, all efforts to speak with the company representative in both instances was not successful as a staff said they are not authorized to talk to the media. They referred journalists to the company’s corporate headquarters.