NLC Writes SGF, Threatens To Picket NCC - Sundiata Tech


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Wednesday, August 8, 2018

NLC Writes SGF, Threatens To Picket NCC

The leadership of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday threatened to picket the headquarters of Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) for failing to take decisive action against erring telecommunication companies.
Ayuba Wabba, NLC President who stated this via a letter dated 24th July, 2018 sent to Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), gave vivid account of the rationale behind the continued picketing of MTN nationwide.
“Yet we have a regulatory agency, NCC, which is statutorily charged with the dual role of creating an enabling environment for business operations as well as protecting consumers and workers. It is perfidious that NCC sees its role only as that of protecting the telecom infrastructure, even though none of them came under threat as alleged by MTN during our peaceful picket.
“The rush by NCC to report NLC to the Office of the National Security Adviser (ONSA) is  both hypocritical and suspect. But we do know who plays the piper, dictates the tune. NCC did not see anything wrong with hosting critical data outside Nigeria or with continual loss of jobs by Nigerians in spite of the unspeakable money made and repatriated by telecom operators.
“We insist that companies, no matter how rich or powerful must respect our leaders, and obey the laws of the land. We insist they must treat Nigerians fairly and decently, for, clearly, Nigerian workers, nay, Nigerians have been at the receiving end of the bad behavior of some transnationals in the telecom sector. Enough is enough.”
According to the NLC President, some of the telecom companies operating in Nigeria were indicted by the Inter-Ministerial Committee set up by the Ministry of Communications in 2017 to investigate allegations of breach of Local Content and Labour Laws by some ICT Companies in its report.
“The Guidelines for Nigerian Content Development in ICT issued by NITDA under the NITDA Act 2007 which came into effect in 2013, require the companies to provide a local content development plan for the creation of jobs, recruitment of local engineers, human capital development and value creation for the local ecosystem. In addition, the Guidelines require the multinational Telecom companies to use local/indigenous companies to build out cell sites, towers and base stations and ensure that at least 50% of the value of such sites, towers and stations are locally sourced.
“In section 8 the Guidelines provide that the companies use Nigerian companies for the provision of at least 60% of all Value Added Services on their network within the first two years of operation or within the first two years of the coming into effect of these guidelines and 80% within three years of the coming into effect of these guidelines. They must also ensure that such companies are creating at least 50% of the value of services provided locally.
“Further the guidelines prescribe in Section 12(1)(4), that all subscriber and consumer data must be hosted locally within Nigeria.
“The Committee adverted its mind to sanctions in the Act which state inter alia that where a person or body corporate fails to comply with the guidelines and standards prescribed by the Agency (NITDA) in the discharge of its duties under this Act, such person or body corporate commits an offence which/who on conviction  is liable to a fine of N200,000 or imprisonment for a term of one year or to both such fine or imprisonment for the first offence, and for a second and subsequent offences to a fine of N500,000 or to imprisonment for a term of 3 years or to both such fine and imprisonment.”
The NLC chief in the letter accused MTN of failing to allow Nigerian workers to exercise their rights at work place to freely associate, and hold an opinion as guaranteed by the 1999 Constitution, the Labour Laws and Conventions 87 and 98 of the ILO instead of resorting to cheap blackmail.
“MTN Nigeria since it commenced operations in Nigeria, in clear violation of extant national and international labour laws,  especially ILO Conventions 87 and 98  has denied its workers their fundamental rights at work which Nigeria ratified since 1960.
“It similarly engages in other anti-labour practices such as casualisation for nearly all types of work, fixed- term contract work for Nigerian workers, worst forms of precarious work, etc.
“It is on record that the Nigeria Labour Congress on several occasions protested to the MTN and  government about these unwholesome practices without a reasonable response.
October 7th last year during the World Decent Work Day marked a watershed in these protests as NLC briefly picketed their Maitama office, Abuja.
“In response to this action of the Congress, MTN reached out to NECA (Nigerian Employers Consultative Association) which brokered a meeting.
“However, due to inexplicable reasons, MTN opted out of the negotiations to the chagrin and embarrassment of NECA.
“Thereafter every effort by NECA and NLC to get MTN to the negotiating table failed. Frustrated, NECA pulled out of the negotiations.
“Subsequent efforts by the Congress yielded no response either. Left with no other choice, the Congress served MTN notice of a picket in line with the provisions of the law. This action commenced across the country from Monday, July 9, to Wednesday, July 11, 2018.
“In prosecuting this picket, our members were peaceful and orderly. Contrary to insinuations by MTN, we destroyed neither property nor hurt anyone as that was not our objective.
We are responsible workers and we are alive to our duties and responsibilities,” he said.
Wabba added that the Committee also indicted the telecom companies of abuse of expatriate quota, disengaging local staff to replace them with expatriates, unjustified shipping out of local jobs as well as hosting of subscribers data outside Nigeria could be construed to mean breach of local content guidelines.
“The Committee noted that none of the companies interacted with submitted any local content plan to NITDA for the creation of jobs, recruitment of local engineers, human capital development and value creation for the local ecosystem or to NITDA/NCC for their platforms and products as part of requirements for registration within Nigeria and prequalification for any project to be carried out with any MDA. All the companies are this in breach of the local content Guidelines from that perspective,” the letter read.

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