House of Reps Order Airtel Sack Reversal

Oct 6, 2011 – The House of Representatives has directed the Ministry of Communications to order an immediate reversal of the alleged sack of nearly 3000 Nigerians by telecoms group, Airtel, pending an investigation of the mass sack.

The alleged dismissal has sparked outrage since it became public last weekend with allegations that the Indian company plans to replace the sacked staffers with Indian and other Asian nationals.

The company’s employment policy has repeatedly been called to question and its labour unions said the recent sack was a breach of a truce mediated by the Nigeria Labour Congress.

 The Airtel branch of the National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees, on Tuesday, called for government’s intervention to compel the company’s management to comply with basic labour standards.

In a resolution late Wednesday, the House directed the Communication Ministry to enforce a reversal of the sack through the National Communications Commission (NCC), the country’s telecoms regulatory body. The House order was the highest from a government arm.

“The management team reneged in the agreement signed between Airtel and the Nigerian workers when the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, brokered truce recently and it is alarming that Airtel had concluded plans to replace the sacked Nigerians with Indians, Asians and others who have lower qualifications and experience,” said Yusuf Tajudeen, representing Kogi State.

The House however resolved that the House Committee on Communications and Labour Employment and Productivity investigate the matter and report back to the House within two weeks.

Airtel, in a statement on Monday, refuted the allegations, claiming that it did engage in any mass retrenchment exercise.