Telecoms’ Workers Issue 14-day Ultimatum to Huawei

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By Ugo Aliogo

The Private Telecommunications and Communications Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PTECSSAN) has issued a 14-day ultimatum to Huawei Technologies Nigeria Limited to halt what it described as disregard and denial of workers’ fundamental rights to freedom of association as enshrined in Section 40 of the Nigerian Constitution.

Speaking to journalists in Lagos, yesterday, the General Secretary of PTECSSAN, Okonu Abdullahi, said all efforts in the past to address all the labour-related issues confronting the workers in the company have been rebuffed by its management.

According to him, “All our efforts in the past to address all the labour-related issues confronting the workers in the company have been rebuffed by its management. Ultimate of which is gross disregard and denial of workers their fundamental rights to freedom of association as enshrined in Section 40 of the constitution, as well as Section 12(4) of the Trade Unions Act LFN 2004 and International Labour Organisation Conventions 87 and 98.”

He further explained that there would be consequences to industrial peace within the company if the demands of the union are not met within 14 days.

Abdullahi lamented that it had become the culture of the company to make workers perform their duties under duress, adding that workers were intimidated, harassed, “and even threatened with sack at every slight opportunity. The use of foul languages on the workers is also prevalent in the organisation.

“We demand that the company respect the right of the workers irrespective of the category they fall under to freely join the union. We call for the immediate withdrawal of warning letters and threats issued to the leaders of the workers trying to organise them into the union. We also request for the immediate commencement of discussion and negotiation of procedural agreement and collective bargaining agreement with the union for the workers.

“We mandate the immediate regularisation of employment of all the casual workers in the company, as we also demand a stop to continued abuse of expatriates’ quota policy in the company.

“We call for the immediate provision of PPE for the field engineers and ensuring occupational health and safety measures are put in place for the generality of workers in the company. We demand that Huawei Technologies Nigeria Limited immediately remedies all the employee relations issues we raised above.

“Huawei continues to undermine and sabotage Nigeria’s economy through its industrial relations practices which is designed to fully emasculate workers, make nonsense of the local content policy of the federal government and ultimately exploit the country without appropriate investment, especially in human capacity and internalisation of technologies for the benefit of our economy.

“As a responsible trade union in the telecommunications and communication sector in Nigeria, we shall ensure the protection of the interests of all workers within the sector; hence, we are dedicated to ensuring that Huawei Technologies treats its workers fairly and within global best practices. All steps, no matter how painstaking they may be, shall be taken to compel the company to comply with all our demands.”