…As alleged members of NLC vandalise property, injure staff
Information and Communication Technology company, MTN Nigeria, has faced attacks from trade union group, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) following the picketing of various MTN offices around the country.
MTN Nigeria had been involved in protracted talks with the trade union to reach an amicable decision, all to no avail.
On Monday July 9, 2018, officials of the labour congress were at the MTN offices to picket, but MTN in its civil manner, invited the officials into the Headquarters in Ikoyi, Lagos, in order to reach unified decisions and prevent any form of violence or incivility.
However, the protest became violent and disorganised in different locations as property within MTN premises were vandalised. Doors and gates were destroyed and alleged officials of NLC breached the fences to gain forced entry into the premises. In Ikoyi, MTN flag was lowered and the NLC flag was hoisted in its place.
Numerous staff of the company were injured in the process of the protests and many assumed the roles of human shields over their colleagues, protecting them from the angry protesters.
Tobechukwu Okigbo, Corporate Relations Executive, MTN Nigeria, in a statement released few hours after the incident escalated said, “Today’s violence and the needless destruction of property is 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.”
The allegations by NLC stating that MTN Nigeria has refused to allow its employees participate in Union activities have been refuted, “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.”
Tobe also added that “All workers have rights that should be protected. We work hard to not only ensure that this is done but also to ensure 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.”