Airtel denies media reports on dismissals, salary reductions

Airtel Nigeria has denied media reports suggesting that the company has fired about 3,000 of its call centre agents and cut salaries of its workers.

News about the incidents broke through Blackberry Messenger Friday September 30, 2011, according to reports in the Nigerian media.

But the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in a report October 4, 2011 culled by Daily Trust cited officials at Airtel Nigeria indicating that it had not sacked any of its employees as well as not having any intention of cutting staff salaries.

“Airtel is committed to realising its vision of being the most loved brand in Nigeria and will continue to ensure that the dialogue between its call centre partners and their employees is fruitful and productive,” NAN quoted Mr Jibril  Saba, Director of Human Resources at Airtel Nigeria as saying at a media briefing in Lagos.

“We want to state categorically that as world class organisation, we offer our employees remuneration and benefits comparable to standards across the world and in compliance with the working and labour laws of Nigeria,” he said.

The Sun News Online publication reports that Mr. Jibril Saba said the ‘sacked’ workers were never staff of Airtel but Spanco and Tecmahindra, the two business processing outsourcing (BPO) companies for Airtel.

A joint statement from Spanco and Tecmahindra cited by Sun News Online reads “The contract existing between us and two of the agencies namely CCSNL and HR Indexx expired effective Friday September 30, 2011. The third agency, Bezaleel’s, contract will expire in January 2012. So, there is no issue of mass sack but expiration of existing contracts. Prior to the expiration of the contracts, we had engaged representatives of the Agents and that of the organized Labour on how to manage their transition to our roll. Due to a lack of consensus on the way forward and an apparent threat to our facilities by some of the agents, we were compelled to suspend operations at the call centres last Friday, September 30, 2011.”

By Ekow Quandzie

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