Airtel workers protest against ‘unfriendly’ working conditions

Workers of Airtel Nigeria, a telecommunications company, on Monday blocked the streets leading to its corporate office in Asokoro District, Abuja, in protest over alleged disagreeable working conditions.

One of the protesters, Dele Adegbite, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that they were protesting against their “cruel treatment” by Airtel management.

“We are carrying out a peaceful demonstration to protest the manner the management of Airtel has enslaved the workers.”

Mr Adegbite said the management had promised to increase their salaries but rather came out with incentives contrary to what was previously agreed on.

According to him, in spite of an annual turnover of $13 billion made by the company, out of which more than 50 percent came from Nigeria, the workers were still not being paid their salaries.

“They have been taking us for a ride; they suspended our health care services and they removed our leave allowances.

“Pregnant workers have been denied maternity leave by the management,” he said.

Another worker, Abubakar Aliyu, said that the protest was not only in Abuja but also at the Lagos office which, he added, had been closed down because of the problem.

“As I am speaking now, this protest is not only here in Abuja; we have two call centres in Lagos, which have been closed down.”

Efforts to get reactions from the management of the company were unsuccessful as two of the officials refused to speak with NAN, saying they were not in a position to comment on the issue.

It will be recalled that Airtel workers had on June 9 protested on the above issues, which resulted in a meeting between Airtel management and the Telecommunications and Postal Workers Union.

After the meeting, Airtel management resolved to address some of the issues raised by the workers but later reneged.

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