The President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade AyubaWabba has declared that the congress picketed the corporate headquaters of MTN and the Abuja Environmental Protection Board (AEPB), because of their anti-labour activities and inhuman treatment of workers.
According to Wabba, the action was planned to coincide with the International Day for Decent Work; adding that the labour movement must fight hard, henceforth, to ensure decent work ideal was established and followed in Nigeria.
The NLC president, who regretted the high level of anti-labour practices in the two organization and others across the country, stated that casualisation of workers by multinationals and other indigenous companies is a crime against humanity and will be resisted by labour.
Citing the case of NTN Nigeria, he pointed out that while the company is refusing unionisation, its counterpart in South Africa, Kenya and Ghana are unionised and they have better working conditions.
He said the congress has received several complaints about the anti-labour practices in these companies.
Wabba said “We have identified two organisations, the Abuja Environmental Protection Board where casualisation has been on and workers have been denied the rights to unionise among other issues.
“Secondly is MTN. Every three months, they sack the workers and give them a new contract. This is not acceptable, our laws does not accept that, and those workers need to be liberated.
“We need to tell them that they need to respect international labour laws, they need to also respect our own labour laws but 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 one is injury to all. Injury to the workers at MTN and AEPB is an injury to all Nigerian workers.”
Wabba said: “In South Africa, MTN workers are unionized all by the Congress of South African Trade Union (COSATU), their affiliates from the telecommunication sector. Same with the one in Kenya and that of Ghana, our question is why should the MTN workers in Nigeria be the people that will be treated worse?
“This campaign is a global strategy endorsed by the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) all over the world that we must stand up for MTN Nigeria workers and they must have their rights, they must also have a condition of service that is commensurate with MTN workers in South Africa, in Kenya and the other parts of the world.
“Why should there be a difference between the condition of MTN workers here in Nigeria and what obtains elsewhere around the world”.
He, however, warned that labour would come back to picket MTN outlets nationwide if these issues were not tackled.
He added: “We have tried to engage the management, and we have mutually agreed that a process of dialogue to discuss this issue and also to discuss the issue of MTN workers in Nigeria in general will take place and that they are going to revert back to us in the next one week and then the process of dialogue. The whole idea is making sure that Nigeria MTN workers should not be second class workers when compared to other MTN workers around the world.
“We must insist that they must continue to work in dignity, they must continue to work in honour and therefore, they are not be enslaved. We have told them very clear that the corporate headquarters is in Lagos and so this is a starting point and we will be ready in the near future if this issue is not addressed, to actually picket MTN offices all over Nigeria because we have done that in the past and we thought that MTN workers deserve a better deal.
“If we need a revisit, certainly we will be there, if we need further step to expand the scope of coverage of this action we will do it. If we are going to need the support of our other counterparts from Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa, ITUC global will give us a signal and we will do a global campaign to actually address the issue”.
Wabba who led the picketing, earlier at the corporate Headquaters of AEPB and MTN gave the management one month to address the anti labour practices, or the congress would return to picket the organisation.