May Day shocker: MTN sacks 280 staff

…Plans 25% reduction in workforce

The 2017 Workers’ Day celebration turned bleak for about 280 staff of MTN Nigeria following their disengagement by the telco over current economic and operational reasons.

This was as insider sources hinted that the telco was not yet done with the exercise as it intends to prune its over 1,800 permanent workforce and contract staff by 25 per cent to allow for fresh strength in Nigeria’s harsh operating environment.

Daily Sun source, however, hinted that over 15 per cent of the company’s Nigerian workforce was shoved out, in an exercise that affected every department including 200 permanent employees and 80 contract staff across various cadres, ranging from new graduates to senior managers.

The dismissed workers were however given a dismal severance package of 75 per cent of their gross monthly income multiplied by the number of years they served the company.

However, MTN has yet to release an official statement to that effect but a source disclosed that the mass sack was woven round recession and the changing dynamics of the telecoms industry in recent times.

MTN had recently introduced the Voluntary Severance Scheme (VSS) to provide a window for one week in April, for persons who have served in MTN for five years and above to take up. And those who offered to opt out under the VSS were paid the equivalent of their three weeks gross salary for every year they worked with MTN.

“What that implies is that when an MTN employee works for five years, he would be paid three weeks of their gross salaries times five.”

Meanwhile, one of the affected employees said the sack was more of office politicking and the current economic situation that is biting hard on all the industry. He, however, added that over 200 of those affected had agreed to leave the company voluntarily under the scheme.

Mass sack appeared to be the dominant operator’s stock in trade, especially since the sponsorship of the Big Brother Africa reality television programme, an industry watcher, who pleaded anonymity stated.

According to him, MTN had sacked 63 employees in 2009 and prevented them from securing jobs in the sector for four years; the case is still in court because the company kept appealing. He maintained that there was consecutive lay-off in 2013 and 2015 respectively by the telco.

“This is not the first time, MTN is laying off staff, but, in fact, the sixth in a row. In 2016, some call centre agents were laid off while others’ salaries were slashed by 67 per cent and forced to relocate to Ibadan. The 2017 mass sack appears to be a May Day shocker for the industry. MTN is the only telco that has the largest incidence of mass sack in the industry.”