Why MTN Nigeria sacked 280 workers

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MTN Nigeria on Friday sacked some 200 permanent employees and about 80 contract staffers across various cadres to inject fresh blood into the telco’s workforce.

According to the source most of the affected staff ranging from new graduates to senior managers, which is about 15 percent of its workforce, had spent between five and 15 years in the company’s employ. MTN kicked-off operations in Nigeria in 2001.

Informed sources said the telecoms company wishes to inject new blood from the more tech savvy generation into its operations.

Midpointmall reliably gathered that MTN put out a notice in March for those who might wish to voluntarily disengage from the company, under its voluntary severance scheme (VSS) giving a one week window which expired on Thursday April 28. Following on this, about 200 long serving staffers voluntarily disengaged. Since this figure did not meet the company’s 15 percent target, they then laid –off an additional 80 staffers last Friday.

There are reverberations of disenchantment as those who left were given three weeks’ pay for every one month served, as severance pay and those affected believe that a big and organised corporate player such as MTN should do more.

Informed sources told Midpointmall that the bulk of those affected got between N5 million and N15 million severance pay.

Sources said affected workers were given a dismal severance of 75 per cent of their gross monthly income multiplied by the number of years with the company.

“Given that the company is about 16 years old in Nigeria, the severance package brought pain and discontent among the affected staff.

“With the payoff structure, senior managers with 15 years of service were left with about N15 million; most of the staff got less than N5 million,” company source explained.

MTN Nigeria recorded nearly $1 billion in profit in 2016. However, the telecoms firm was heavily fined by the Nigerian government for failing to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered subscribers.

MTN’s spokesman,FunsoAina, could not be reached for comments yesterday.

But a source familiar with the latest downsizing said 200 of those affected had earlier agreed to leave the company voluntarily.

The source said the sackings were as a result of “the changing dynamics of the telecoms industry in recent times”.

The source said the company 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.

Those who decided to leave under the VSS were to be paid the equivalent of their three weeks gross salary for every year they worked with MTN.

“What it means is that if one worked in MTN for five years, one would be paid three weeks of their gross salaries times five,” the source said.

Eventually, all 280 staff were disengaged under the VSS and paid their benefits, the source said.

The source added that since revenue from the voice segment of the industry has attained its plateau, the new revenue stream would naturally come from data services. “Younger and tech-savvy Nigerian graduates are going to drive this new initiative designed to take the telco to the next level,” another source familiar with the development added.

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