By: JACOB ONJEWU DICKSON
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) Kaduna State chapter in compliance to instructions from their national headquarters pickected the Kaduna office of the MTN, paralysing the activities of the telecommunication outfit for hours.
Meanwhile, heavily armed security men from the state owned security outfit code named ‘Operation Yaki’ numbering over twenty in two hilux vehicles where on ground apparently to prevent any break down of laws and order.
Leading the protesting union members, the State NLC chairman Comrade Ango Adamu and other labour leaders who spoke to newsmen said, their action was not to engage the management of the telecom outfit in violence that could lead to breakdown of law and order but to demand for the rights of Nigerian workers.
Comrade Adamu stressed that, Nigerian workers will not be a slave in their own country, adding that “no room for casual workers in the labour extant rules of engagement.
According to the labour leader, “what is being done in Nigeria cannot be done in South Africa. Casualization is slave labour and will not be tolerated. We are here to request that the telecommunication outfit should comply with Nigeria labour law. We will fight against all forms of exploitation” he stressed.
The labour members who engaged in singing solidarity songs carried placards with various inscriptions to include,
“We shall overcome slavery, freedom come by struggle, Workers rights are human rights, No to precarious work, yes to dignity of labour, No to corruption yes to good governance. Workers should be given their pride of place”.
Reacting, the Area Manager of MTN, Kaduna area office. Fatima Abba Paris commended the labour union for composing themselves in their protest without being violent like it was experienced in some of their offices in some states.
Contrary to insinuations by the labour leaders, that MTN hire and fire at Will, she said, MTN only hire based on need and when such need is no longer needed, stressing however that MTN donot hire contract staff directly.
On freedom of association bybstaff of MTN, she said, MTN does not stop her staff from associating with any union, but it is voluntary for them and not compulsary.
Meanwhile, she said the Kaduna office is closed within the picketing period for fear of any breakdown of law and order like it happened in some of their office in some states, while assuring that the management has noted their grievances and will do the needful accordingly.
Among those who participated in the protest were the president of the National Union of Textile Garments, Tailoring Workers of Nigeria (NUTGTWN) Comrade John Adaji and the State Chairman of Nigerian Union Teacher (NUT) Comrade Titus Amba.