Mass retrenchment of employees in the telecommunications subsector has drawn the attention of the House of Representatives, which on Wednesday, sought to know why the communication service providers has taken such step.
Representatives of MTN, Airtel, Etisalat, and GLO were present to brief the House Committee on Telecommunications on the spate of retrenchment, one regarded as detrimental to the job security of affected workers.
MTN was spotted amongst the lot by the House committee for sacking 356 Nigerians in the previous year alone.
Acting Corporate Services Executive, Oyeronke Oyetunde, and the Acting Human Resources Executive, Ajibola Opeluwa-Calebs were on ground to respond to questions on behalf of MTN.
The mobile service-providing company said it has offered employment to a total of 1,493 workers, a figure which had 1,478 Nigerians and 15 foreigners.
It reported that a total of 356 employees had left MTN in the previous year. In April 2017, about 194 staff members were disengaged voluntarily after they have been given compensation.
MTN’s representative, Opeluwa-Calebs said: “There were discussions with these employees and under the voluntary arrangement, they requested on their own to use their skills elsewhere.
“This was a seamless exercise that was not forced on them; some agreed to go and set up businesses of their own with the package, which was rewarding.”
Caleb said that 65 other workers were disengaged from service. With that, the total number of retrenchment in MTN in April was 259.
The brief state of health of the telecommunications companies was relayed to the legislators, starting with MTN and Airtel. According to its executive officer, Opeluwa-Calebs, MTN’s decision to downsize was linked to the need for digitalization and expansion.
However, he mentioned that the company has also filled the vacant positions by the creation of 240 new jobs in its reform for better service delivery.
The unsatisfied legislators posited that it is unrealistic for any employee to voluntarily leave the company for a package when it is obvious that MTN has the capacity to retain them, in view of the profit it makes in business. They also questioned to know why MTN did not retrain the workers for new job description in the digitalization drive instead of relieving them of their job.
On the long run, MTN was asked to provide the list of retrenched employees in order for the legislators to verify the veracity of its claims.
In Airtel’s statement, Mr Gbemiga Owolabi who is Director of Human Resources said about 90 staff members departed from the company in the previous year.
The seating of the House committee will entertain more reports from the mobile network service providers on revenue losses.