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PTECSSAN accuses MTN of violating corporate best practices, labour laws

By EDU ABADE

Private Telecom Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) has accused telecommunications giant, MTN of violating corporate best practices and the country’s labour Laws.

Lamenting MTN’s unfriendly attitude to workers, the association urged the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to take necessary measures to defend the country’s labour laws by prevailing on MTN to implement the exit package in its Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) with employees. In a statement issued by the union and made available to The Trumpet, it noted that MTN could not claim to be a certified Investor in People (IIP) organisation when it does not care about its employees, some of whom have spent their productive years with the company.

The union recalled that on March 1, 2022, MTN and PTECSSAN went to Abuja at the behest of the Ministry of Labour, when MTN raised the alarm that the union wanted to disrupt its activities in Nigeria and alleged that the union refused to obey the agreement reached in a Procedural Agreement (PA) by both parties.

It said the PA entered into and signed by MTN and PTECSSAN on October 9, 2020, stated in paragraph (d) that: “This agreement shall constitute the sole record of the understanding and agreement between the parties and overrides any prior verbal or written communication relating to the subject matter, whether express or implied, including letters or memorandum of understanding (MoU).”

The association also alleged that in total disregard for that clause, MTN refused to continue the negotiation of the CBA presented by the union, insisting that it had concluded everything about exit package in another document before signing the PA and the above clause.

However, in deciding the dispute and having fully understood paragraph (d) above, the ministry held that MTN could not reprobate and approbate at the same time, insisting that having signed the Procedural Agreement and the clauses contained therein, MTN in all intents and purposes, was bound by the agreement and it was, therefore, out of place to claim that the union failed to respect the agreement.

PTECSSAN noted that MTN had continually declined to convene a meeting to conclude the CBA, as directed by the ministry, even when the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) wrote to MTN ON April 14, 2022, on its recalcitrant nature in obeying the country’s labour laws and stop having the management and employee council as a parallel union in the company.

It expressed concern that the Ministry of Labour and Employment had failed to transmit MTN’s appeal to the arbitration panel as it should have done under the circumstance. While the association had continued to follow due process in resolving any industrial dispute with MTN, the company had continually used all control measures within its powers to scuttle every effort of PTECSSAN and cause disunity among its members.

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The union also claimed that MTN could not claim to be IIP certified and not have a basic exit package for its employees, noting that whatever MTN claimed to have for its workforce was being enjoyed by its senior employees, while only very little fraction goes to the lower cadre.

PTECSSAN further claimed that: “MTN pays exit packages to its senior staff members but refuses to do the same to the lower cadre. All exited or sacked executives have been paid handsome exit packages, but frown at the lower cadre mentioning it in spite of MTN’s avowed certified IIP organisation.

“The senior staff members enjoy $15,000 lifestyle benefit yearly, but the company cannot do anything for the lower cadre employees no matter how little. MTN pays school fees for the children of its executives, but that cannot be mentioned by the lower cadre.

“The company gives and fuels generators of its executives and will not care when the union mentions issues of inflation and fuel price increases.

“MTN pays 80 per cent of the executives’ take home as bonus, while the lower cadre takes only 20 per cent. In spite of all MTN has done for its workforce including the executives, the total employee cost to revenue is barely 3.5 per cent, which is very low compared to other organisations and banks in Nigeria doing well above 6-9 per cent,” among other violations.

It further expressed disappointment that the Ministry of Labour and Employment had failed to take necessary action to defend the country’s labour laws and compel recalcitrant employers to observe international best practices, adding that all members of the union were now asking for an exit package, as stated in the collective bargaining agreement.

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