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NLC accuses NCC of aiding MTN to undermine Nigerian laws

NLC accuses NCC of aiding MTN to undermine Nigerian laws
August 07
16:03 2018

…Says we are coming to picket you

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has accused the Nigeria Communication Commission (NCC) of aiding telecommunications giant, MTN Nigeria to disobey extant Nigerian laws and international Labour laws and convention which the country signed since 1960.

Labour is also accusing MTN Nigeria of subjecting Nigerian Workers to untold harsh and unfriendly Labour practices such as casualisation, disallowing unionization among.

Labour is also accusing MTN Nigeria of being one of the biggest threats to the nation’s security, putting the lives of Nigerian security agents at risk and funding their global operation with funds made from Nigeria, while subjecting Nigerian workers to untold hardship.

In a letter to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and signed by the President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the NLC said it was forced to picket the company offices across the country because of its clear violation of national and international Labour laws especially ILO Conventions 87 and 98 has denied its workers their fundamental rights at work which Nigeria ratified since 1960.

Wabba said it was unfortunate that the NCC that is supposed to be a regulatory agency statutorily charged with the dual role of creating an enabling environment for business operations as well as protecting consumers and workers has failed to play that role.

He said “It is perfidious that NCC sees its role only as that of protecting the telecom infrastructure, even though none of them came under threat as alleged by MTN during our peaceful picket.

“The rush by NCC to report NLC to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is both hypocritical and suspect. But we do know who plays the piper, dictates the tune.

“NCC did not see anything wrong with hosting critical data outside Nigeria or with continual loss of jobs by Nigerians in spite of the unspeakable money made and repatriated by telecom operators.

“It did not see anything wrong with the violation of Nigerian Laws, Labour Laws or security breaches leading to the loss of lives of security personnel, not to talk about humongous illicit financial flows as highlighted in the Thabo Mbeki Report which continue to undermine our national wellbeing or security.

“In our estimation, the greatest threat to Nigeria’s national security is not by Nigerian workers but the bullish and arrogant attitude of MTN and its co-travellers or collaborators like the NCC.

“Let NCC continue to promote this talk about MTN infrastructure constituting core critical national asset. We do not begrudge them. For us at the Nigeria Labour Congress, however, no asset can be more critical to Nigeria than Nigerians themselves.

“Accordingly, we wish to put NCC on notice that we will picket it the way we picketed MTN if it continues to discharge its duties in the breach. Let it continue with its amebo instead of doing the work for which it is established.

“The Nigeria Labour Congress is a pan-Nigerian organisation which jealously guards our national interests. No one should blackmail it even though it may not have the wherewithal to organise or sponsor executives to foreign seminars or workshops every week!

“A perfunctory look at MTN’s global activities and earnings confirms our assertion that proceeds from MTN Nigeria is used to run the global MTN. Where therefore does this arrogance come from?

“We insist that companies, no matter how rich or powerful must respect our leaders, and obey the laws of the land. We insist they must treat Nigerians fairly and decently, for, clearly, Nigerian workers, nay, Nigerians have been at the receiving end of the bad behavior of some transnationals in the telecom sector. Enough is enough.

“Workers of Airtel, First Bank, Union Bank and many other companies were salvaged from slave labour by the Nigeria Labour Congress through this same process or action. MTN therefore, should not be given preferential treatment or consider itself to be above the law.

“The three-day picket represents the first step in the series of lawful actions we shall be taking against companies that act in breach of national and international labour laws and our national interest. We owe no one an apology for that. We would wish to let everyone know that we are committed to this operation. We have the will and the means to sustain it.”

The congress said further that “It similarly engages in other anti-labour practices such as casualisation for nearly all types of work, fixed- term contract work for Nigerian workers, worst forms of precarious work, etc.

“It is on record that the Nigeria Labour Congress on several occasions protested to the MTN and government about these unwholesome practices without a reasonable response.

“October 7th last year during the World Decent Work Day marked a watershed in these protests as NLC briefly picketed their Maitama office, Abuja. In response to this action of the Congress, MTN reached out to NECA (Nigerian Employers Consultative Association) which brokered a meeting. However, due to inexplicable reasons, MTN opted out of the negotiations to the chagrin and embarrassment of NECA.

“Thereafter every effort by NECA and NLC to get MTN to the negotiating table failed. Frustrated, NECA pulled out of the negotiations. Subsequent efforts by the Congress yielded no response either. Left with no other choice, the Congress served MTN notice of a picket in line with the provisions of the law.”

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