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Airtel Offices Shut Nationwide

Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has directed that offices of Airtel, providers of GSM services, nationwide should remain sealed until the company reverses its exploitative policies towards Nigerian workers.

This declaration was made in Abuja, yesterday, by NLC President, Mr. Abdulwaheed Omar, at a briefing on the plight of Airtel workers, who besieged NLC headquarters.

The NLC leader added that the umbrella labour union would no longer allow Airtel to do business in the country if the company denies Nigerian workers their fundamental human rights, including the right to unionise, which is guaranteed under the Nigerian Constitution.

Omar said the labour coalition decided to seal the offices of the GSM company as a result of the manner in which it locked out its Nigerian workers last September 30 over disputed labour issues.

He said among the areas of disagreement were a proposed 60 pay-cut for the workers; reduction of leave from 36 days to six days and a working week of six days a week and eight hours per shift daily.

He said that the scenario in the company unfolded after Zain was bought over by Airtel, an Indian telecommunications company.


He noted that after the take-over, Airtel converted all Nigerian workers in the company to casual staff, adding that the company contracted out recruitment for permanent jobs to two Indian companies.

He said: “The two Indian companies decided to hire three Nigerian companies for the recruitment.”

He alleged that Airtel seconded hundreds of its staff inherited from Zain to these third party companies under an exploitative arrangement.

According to him: “it was under this exploitative arrangement that the Nigerian staff were made to work, some of them without letters of appointment and identity cards and non with conditions of service. These categories of staff were denied all rights they were entitled to as Airtel staff.”

He added despite the intervention of NLC and the signing of an agreement with a mediator, which was appointed by Airtel, the company refused to abide by the provisions of the agreement, which led the workers embarking on strike last July.

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