The Nigeria Labour Congress has disrupted activities of MTN Nigeria in protest against non-unionisation of its workers.
The leadership of the union and other members barricaded the head office of the company in Lagos on Monday for about eight hours, preventing workers from carrying out their daily duties.
The protesters, led by the NLC President, Ayuba Wabba, gained access into the MTN office in Lagos around 6am and reportedly replicated the labour action simultaneously nationwide.
Ayuba said the picketing was a follow-up to the Oct 7, 2017 picketing of MTN office in Abuja.
“There are a lot of anti-labour practices which the company is practising among which is that they have denied the workers to freedom of association and denied them the right to collective bargaining. No violence was recorded; it was very peaceful,” he said.
The Lagos State NLC Chairman, Idowu Adelakun, said the union would picket Glo, Airtel and 9mobile as well, for their refusal to allow workers to join the labour movement.
He said the action at MTN offices would continue until workers in the company were allowed to join the labour union and new executive members elected.
“Anywhere we see that workers have been denied their rights to be unionised, we know those companies are not prepared to negotiate any good wages for the workers. If MTN had responded, we would have stopped the action today. We will continue to be there until they listen to the voice of the people,” Adelakun said.
MTN Nigeria, in a statement signed by its Corporate Relations Executive, Tobechukwu Okigbo, registered its displeasure at the destruction of its property.
He added that the company was not against freedom of association as enshrined in the Nigerian constitution.
He said, “Today’s violence and the needless destruction of property are deeply saddening. As always our primary concern is the safety and well-being of our employees, some of whom were attacked by supposed NLC operatives and have sustained injuries.
“We do not prevent our employees from associating amongst themselves as they deem fit and owe our employees the obligation to ensure they are not compelled to join associations. MTN supports the freedom of association as enshrined in the Nigerian Constitution.
“All workers have rights that should be protected. We work hard to not only ensure that this is done but also that our company is a great place to work. We will continue to champion our peoples’ rights, whether they are part of a union or not and work hard to minimise disruptions in service to our customers.”