MTN Nigeria Downsizes, Sacks over 280 Workers


Emma Okonji
MTN Nigeria has laid off over 280 workers, from its workforce in a major job cut that affected about 15 per cent of the company’s entire Nigerian workforce.
According to Premium Times, those affected by the move include some 200 permanent employees and about 80 contract staff across various cadres, ranging from new graduates to senior managers.

Most of the affected workers were the pioneer staff of MTN who joined the telecoms company in 2001 when MTN started business in Nigeria and they have been with the company till they were sacked on Friday.

But a source close to MTN who confirmed the exit of some staff, however said it was not a sack, but a voluntary exit by the affected staff, based on the Voluntary Severance Scheme (VSS) packaged by MTN and presented before its staff.

The source also said the number of affected staff was far less than 280 as reported by online media.
“Nobody was sacked, it was a Voluntary Severance Scheme put together by MTN for any of its staff that want to retire voluntarily. It is a new scheme introduced for the first time, based on staff feedback,” the source said.
THISDAY gathered that most staff that have served the company for more than five years and were willing to retire, were asked to apply for the voluntary severance scheme package and they did so on their own volition.

Based on staff feedback, MTN Nigeria had early last month introduced a voluntary severance scheme for its staff members that were willing to leave the services of the telecoms company, but were afraid to do so because they were not going to get their gratuity paid. So most preferred the scheme, which comes with some good package to fall back to when they exit the services of the company. But just as some staff members are exiting, MTN Nigeria is also opening job opportunities for managerial positions in its employment, THISDAY learnt. 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.

But according to the report, the 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,” a source said.
“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.”

MTN Nigeria recorded nearly $1 billion in profit in 2016. However, the telecoms firm was heavily fined N1.04 trillion by the Nigerian government for failing to disconnect 5.2 million unregistered subscribers. The fine was however negotiated to N330 billion, and MTN had since commenced installment payment.