General News of Thursday, 21 June 2012

Source: Economy Times

MTN Bribes Labour Commission -Workers Allege

The leading mobile telecommunication network in Ghana, MTN had been dragged to National Labour Commission (NLC) to answer questions relating to its recent sacking spree.
The Local staff Association of the company, who was the brain behind the move, told Economy Times NLC was supposed to begin the hearing process last week but failed to do so, alleging that, “the management of MTN had bribed NLC to delay the process.”
“When we complained to them last week, Labour Commission told us that they are yet to set a new date for the hearing,” a member of the association, who pleaded anonymity stated.
Efforts by this paper to get both NLC and the management of MTN to respond to the bribery allegation proved futile as they refused to answer our numerous phone calls.
MTN is also likely to face legal suit soon with regards to its recent sacking spree. The legal counsel for the affected staff had written to the management of MTN and gave them a 14-day ultimatum to reverse their earlier decision and refer to the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) or be dragged to court, Economy Times has learnt.
At the interim, 18 workers of the company were sacked and 82 more are expected to join pretty soon. The move by management was believed to break the labour front and put a gargantuan fear in the union and the general staff.
A disengagement letter signed by the Human Resource Director cited intensified competition, increasing costs, slowing revenues as some of the reasons of taking the aforementioned decision.
“The decision to conduct a staff reduction exercise was to ensure long term sustainability for the business,” the letter stated.
The affected workers are those that have performed at the lowest quartile consistently over the past three-year period but the model has since been criticised by most staff, human resource practitioners, as well as legal experts.
The affected staff has been given a seven working day ultimatum to sign on a unilateral offer, else exist without compensation. Additionally they have been cautioned not to reveal the details of the letter to any third party.
The staff reduction exercise was fuelled by an email from the CEO, Micheal Ikpoki to the MTN Ghana Postmaster on the subject: “Salary Review and Performance Management.”
According to the email, there is the need for cultural change in the business along five pillars of improving staff productivity, companywide customer-centered focus, alignment across functions in the business, innovation as a “way of life” and managerial courage.
The mind boggling question industry players, legal experts and HR consultants are asking is in relation to the disconnect between MTN Ghana raising US$300m for infrastructure enhancement, recruiting new employees and downsizing. There seems to be a missing link. The real question is whether this is a political exercise to clean cronies of past directors or a real business decision.