By G9ija

Workers under the aegis of the Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria on Wednesday picketed MTN Nigeria PLC Plaza in Falomo, Lagos to drive home some demands.

They held placards with inscriptions such as: Workers Rights are Human Rights; Unionism is a Right and not a Privilege.

They also chanted solidarity songs.

Some of the union’s grievances include MTN’s alleged resistance to workers’ right to freedom of association, organised and collective bargaining.

The union also accused MTN of paying exit packages to its management staff, but refusing to do same to the lower cadre.

PTECSSAN’s General Secretary, Okonu Abdullahi, accused MTN management of not giving the union opportunity to negotiate the working conditions of workers in the organisation.

Abdullahi said that every effort made to reach the management by way of communication through correspondence by emails proved abortive.

He said: “When you have a trade Union, there must be a collective bargaining agreement, which is a pointer to the existence of the union in any organisation.

“But MTN is running away from negotiating the CBA: the procedural agreement was signed and as result of this, it escalated to the Ministry of Labour.

“A very good example, which the management is running from, is the exit benefits: how can workers be working for several number of years and you are not giving them terminal benefits?

“We insisted as a responsible union that there must be an exit benefit.

“In the procedural agreement, it was agreed that no item should be exempted, but now to come to the table to start negotiating, MTN took off.”

The Secretary said that the picketing exercise would be a continuous one unless MTN negotiated and agreed on the collective bargaining agreement within the shortest possible time.

Abdullahi said: “Ultimately, if they are still refusing like they have always been doing to sit down with us and negotiate, we can assure them that their network will have to be disrupted.”

Meanwhile, a source in MTN, who pleaded anonymity, told the News Agency of Nigeria that the issues raised were still pending before the Ministry of Labour.

“Since February, MTN has filed a trade dispute with the Ministry of Labour, which statutorily is obligated to look into the dispute, which is still pending,” the source said.