Jos – The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) on Wednesday sealed up the premises of the MTN Call Centre in Jos, citing the “undue exploitatiion and shortchanging of staff”.
Mr Jibrin Bancir, Chairman, Plateau chapter of NLC, led the NLC team that sealed the call centre.
Bancir said that the action became necessary because of the refusal of CNSSL, the company managing the MTN call centre, to meet an earlier agreement to review the working conditions.
He said that the congress met with the company in December 2011, where both discussed the need to operate based on the MTN standards as obtained in other parts of the country.
“MTN has standards. You cannot be paying somebody, who is doing the same job, for the same company, N120, 000 in Kaduna, Kano and Lagos, only to pay N37,000 to their counterparts in Jos.
“When I got in touch with the Human Resources Manager of MTN, he said that it was the business of CNSSL to manage the centre.
“That was after fruitless efforts to make CNSSL to review the workers’ service conditions.
“Eventually, we gave the company a 14-day ultimatum, which expired Tuesday. Now, we are left with no option, but to seal up the centre,” he said.
Bancir said that the centre would remain sealed until the company reviewed the conditions of service of the workers in Jos office to meet up with their counterparts in other parts of the country.
Mr Adekoya Adeyemi, Head of Human Resources of CNSSL, however refused to comment on the development and said that “it is not time for interviews”.
One of the staff, who gave his name simply as Ibrahim, also said that the exploitation had been on for a long time.
“We have tried to discuss with management as gentle Nigerians so that we can resolve the matter amicably and maturedly, but that has not yielded any fruit.
“How can you assemble graduates and be paying them peanuts? he querried rhetorically, and vowed that the staff would resist any attempt to continue to shortchange them.
Other workers, who spoke on the development said when they were recruited, they were told that their salaries would be increased significantly from the initial N35,000 after two years in service.
“But after two years in service, we recveived only N2,000.
“Currently, our contemporaries in other places are paid between N100,000 and N120, 000,’’ one of them, who opted for anonymity, said.
“We, in Jos, do the same job as those in Kano, Kaduna and Lagos; we do the same shift, we had the same training but they pay us about a third of what they pay in other states.
“Here, they pay N37,000 a month but they claim that we are paid N120,000.”
They also expressed anger that the local management deducted monies from their salaries for the rice given to them by MTN during Christmas.
When contacted, Funmilayo Omogbenigun, General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Corporate Services Division of the MTN said that MTN Nigeria’s local outsourcing model is unique in the telecommunications industry.
“Our partner, who has no association whatsoever with MTN or its board, was selected through a rigorous bidding process which ensured that the winner had demonstrable abilities in call centre management.
“We also insist that their policies are aligned to MTN’s best practice with respect to the ethical treatment of employees,’’ she explained.
He said that MTN made sure that staff provided by its outsourced partners were remunerated in line with the current levels for their particular job profile and geographical area.
“What the staff are paid is based on their location, which could be different from other places,” Omogbenigun said. (NAN)