By Kester Omu
The Association of Telecommunications Companies of Nigeria (ATCON) has added its voice to a barrage of condemnations that have followed the picketing of MTN Nigeria offices nationwide by the Nigeria Labour Congress.
ATCON, an umbrella body of all telecommunication companies in Nigeria, in a statement sent via email by its Executive Secretary, Mr. Ajibola Olude, berated the recent demonstration of the Nigerian Labour Congress in front of MTN’s headquarters and branches nationwide, which led to the destruction of properties.
The statement reads in part: “The Association sees these nationwide disruptions of its members’ operations as unnecessary venture and it an intentional attempt to frustrate and sabotage the effort of our member to provide a seamless communication for all Nigerians. We are even worried that the picketers became so violent during their unnecessary demonstration. ATCON thinks if NLC wants to do anything at all, they should have peacefully carried out their picketing instead of going violent.
“The picketing of MTN Nigeria, which happened two days ago is uncalled for at this material time that some companies are laying off their staff because of the poor economic situation in the country. This action by NLC has pointed to the fact that some people are out to sabotage ATCON’s efforts to encourage its members to make more investment in infrastructure development of the sector. The amount of money lost during these demonstrations is alarming and ATCON thinks NLC should have approach the matter in a more professional and civilized manner. We would appreciate NLC to write to us before embarking on any demonstration that can put the security of the nation in jeopardy. Our members are law abiding corporate organizations that have been contributing to the wealth of Nigeria.”
Meanwhile, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said on Tuesday that it decided to picket all MTN offices nationwide because of the unfriendly Labour practice of the company, stressing that the body will not be intimidated or blackmailed.
In a statement by its President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, NLC noted that all efforts and those brokered by the Nigeria Employers Consultative Association to address the issues of unfriendly Labour practices all failed as MTN failed fail to return to the negotiating table.
He promised that the picketing would continue, disclosing that it was only in Nigeria that MTN workers were not unionised and were subjected to casualisation in total violation of the Labour laws in the country and the ILO conventions.