MTN ‘sacks hundreds in Nigeria without benefits’

MTN Nigeria office

Telecommunications Company, MTN, on Friday fired hundreds of staff in its Nigeria offices without severance pay, several affected staff have told PREMIUM TIMES.

The staff said they were not properly about their dismissal and that the company failed to respect their contractual agreements.

They said MTN had informed them of a plan to outsource staff, but since it was not the first time that would happen, they took the information casually.

“In 2012 they outsourced us to a company called CNSSL. Now what we have heard is that MTN is taking us away from CNSSL to an Indian company, ISON BPO,” said one staff, who has worked with the company for over five years.

He said they were told by MTN about two weeks ago that the contracts would terminate at the end of September. With no further information, the staff thought they would return to MTN.

“But on reaching here today, they placed security all over the place, numbering up to 50 private security operatives,” he said.

He said while a company could hire and fire, employees also should be fairly remunerated.

“For five years since I have been with them, salaries have not been reviewed. We work on public holidays, yet there were no plans for any overtime payments. We operate an invoice system, which allows payments within intervals of a month, starting from the 15th of every month.

“As we speak nobody is talking about our salaries for the last 15 days we have worked. A lot of us have outstanding leave days that should be monetized but no one is talking about that. Even when they pay the salaries; a lot of us are usually sub-paid, meaning that our salaries are deducted without explanations,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

Another affected worker told PREMIUM TIMES that he had just finished a night shift and stepped out to get some money from an Authomated Teller Machines, ATM, when he observed the strange development.

“They searched me like a common criminal. Both when I was going out and when I was returning inside. They did not even allow me inside,” he said. “I kept asking what was happening because I did not understand.”

Another affected staff said he had worked with the MTN group of companies for eight years, but was suddenly locked out of office on Friday, without explanations from his employers.

“They refused even to let us inside the compound. They only asked that a security operative address us. They said they have outsourced us, but a careful study of the process shows that MTN is still the owners of the company. For example, after outsourcing us to CNSSL, in 2012, MTN still maintained full control of the company and we are sure they are the ones outsourcing us again.

“They are moving their call centre away from Lagos which means we have practically been sacked. And there are at least 4000 of us, if not more, because we are spread across Nigeria,” he said.

The staff requested their identities be protected as the matter was still fluid.

One staff, who was sacked much earlier, said he was fortunate to be employed by the new company.

“Yes it is true. There are many of us. Although I am now working with ISON BPO but when I was laid off by MTN, no entitlement followed,” he told PREMIUM TIMES.

When contacted, the spokesperson for MTN, Funso Aina, promised to send a statement on the incident. He did not revert for more than 24 hours, and did not respond to further calls and text messages.

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  • Daniel

    I warned that the heavy fine on MTN will boomerang.

    Aba Kyari how market?

    • Datti

      This has nothing to do with the MTN fine. These are contract staffs since 2012.

      • Daniel

        It is part of it. They are losing money in this harsh economic environment.

  • abdul dull daura

    Buhari is killing Nigeria and Nigerians.

    • marcos avelino

      Every thing Buhari Buhari blame the man who pushed into this hole –> I warned about recession when Jonathan govt spent ‘recklessly’ – Obasanjo

    • Spoken word

      You are a fool.MTN has always treated their contract staff like slaves.this has nothing to do with buhari.if it was dumbo still in power MTN would never have been fined by the FGN for unregistered SIMS.

      • abdul dull daura

        Smart one!! So the fine has helped the economy in your smart brain? You believe MTN treat their workers as slaves by sacking 4,000. Has the government that fined MTN and treat their workers as kings been able to absorb the 4,000 new entrants into the labour market?

        • Spoken word

          You obviously have your brain in your butt,so MTN should keep breaking the laws of our country.I can see you are a slave in your own country.colo mentality.

          • NoSpinEd

            Please answer his question Mr Freeman.

          • Spoken word

            At the end of the day MTN is a business not a charity.recession will affect businesses too including MTN.

          • NoSpinEd


    • Mufu Ola

      You are killing yourself with your dud brain.

  • Spoken word

    Nigerian workers are treated like slaves

    • Nkem

      Because they behave like slaves. See them – too scared to give their identities even after being thoroughly humiliated.

  • trutho234


    But what did President Buhari after imposing a fine of $5.2 billion on MTN for violations?

    No private company can retain its entire staff even after such a fine is discounted by 50%.

    • utolason

      Rubbish! Was there a fine on MTN in 2012 when similar incident took place? Is this shabby treatment of staff in Nigeria peculiar to MTN?

    • dami

      Cool down…MTN are also involved in an alleged money laundering case to the tune of $13billion siphoned out of Nigeria.
      So left to me they should of not discounted the fine! And allowed MTN to do their worst… maybe then more people will know that these foreign coys are really re-colonizing and raping us through corporate theft and economic sabotage….on the other hand maybe it’s our laws that are too porous or our government officials too corrupt…anyway they are a shitty company providing shitty service…let them go jor!

    • Taiwo

      German giant Deutche bank has just been fined $14b by the US Dept of justice.

  • Taiwo

    Over to you Mr. Ngige, Minister of Employment.

    • Isi Agwo

      You mean Ngige, the Minister of Un-employment?

  • thusspokez

    Serve you right Nigerians. You set up companies not to produce anything but to embezzle and launder stolen public money. Wasn’t it reported in the Nigerian media that the AGF had accepted bribe from MTN to reduce the fines imposed on it? That is CHANGE for you under Buhari! Any wonder that workers’ rights are abused by these foreign companies?

    In the 70-80s, the very patriotic M. K .O. Abiola bought ITT and through it invested heavily in telecommunications and Nigerians. What happened to all the telephone exchanges that his company built all over Nigeria? Probably derelict and in disrepair, and abandoned.

    Isn’t it sad that no wealthy Nigerian — even embezzlers — had contemplated investing in mobile telecommunication until the arrival of MTN. Yet Nigeria is a country where people like to flaunt their academic qualifications and (stolen) wealth. To this day, Nigeria do not have Internet service provider with servers located in Nigeria. What a country !

    • Trendy


      • walter enang

        90% of all servers I the world are located in one o the Scandinavian countries. It is cool and secure there. Forget Nigerian firms…they are jokers!

  • Man_Enough

    The workers should go to court with evidence of contractual agreements.

  • tsunami1earthquake

    When the MTN was fined sometime ago it was foreseeable that this kind of thing was going to happen one day. Don’t get me wrong! It was in the full right of the supervisory agency to fine the MTN for a breach of regulations. However, one now wonders what has been in the contractual agreement between the MTN, and in fact other GSM companies, regarding treatment of their workers like in this case. The relationship between these GSM companies and the supervisory agency, representing the Nigerian public sector, is surely something like a public private partnership arrangement. In that wise the interest of the Nigerian workers must have been taken fully into consideration to avoid treatment like this one.

    I don’t know but this calls for a review of the contractual agreement if such interests have not been taken care of or an enforcement of such interests, if present in the contractual agreements.

  • kumi

    After collecting 5 billion dollars from MTN yet APc and Buhari said no dollars no money so. I ask where is all our dollars going

  • grand maze

    What is all these nonsense. I thought government had abolished casualisation and contract staffing. Ngige over to you. They should impose another fine on MTN. Damn them, thinking they can blackmail Nigeria. If they leave today, another company will easily take their place. Their loss another’s gain. Upon all the money they are making in this country with their unfair business practices. Infact if left to me, I would love dangote to establish another indigenous service provider in the mould of GLO and after that we kick MTN out of Nigeria. They are rogues.

  • Nkem

    Why are Nigerian workers treated like slaves? Because they behave like slaves. See them – they are even scared to give their identities even after being kicked out of the company. Some of them are even happy that they ‘privileged’ to be retained by the new company. In other climes, all employees would down their tools until everyone is treated fairly.
    This is lesson to all those Nigerians who consider themselves ‘privileged’ because they have been considered ‘worthy’ by multinational companies. It is also a lesson for those who conspire with these MNCs to cheat and abuse their fellow countrymen. These telecom companies will use our fellow countrymen to steal your data and airtime. When you call these ‘customer centres’, your own brothers would make sure you don’t get redress.
    The lesson here for all those still ‘lucky’ to be retained by the company is this: A company who cheats and use you, the employee, to perpetrate injustice will always end up doing the same thing to you. So beware!

  • Truth is bitter

    This incident has shown clearly that our National Assembly is a junk and jinx to our country. This casualisation of Nigerians didn’t start today, the casulisation is booming because those rogues called legislatures are beneficiaries of the corrupt system. Many of these useless legislatures are contractors, by proxy, to all those useless companies including oil and gas. They are only interested in passing Bills which will shield them from corruption and fraud trials. Sixteen years of PDP in this country were characterized with catastrophes and calamities to Nigerians living standard. We need to rewrite our constitution because the current ones are disastrous to Nigeria growth.

  • Du Covenant

    This is why I argued MTN should have paid the fine initially imposed by NCC. MTN clearly has no respect for Nigeria and Nigerians judged by the level of service they provide in the country. The FG should have really given MTN a very bloody nose with that fine even if it meant them leaving the country. We sell ourselves cheap and we get what we deserve in return. Everything we do must be chaotic, the reduction of the fine was also chaotic, MTN got a reduction and it still has the last voice.