Ericsson’s anti Nigeria labour policy forces 160 Nigerians to lose jobs to Indians
There are strong indications that Ericsson Nigeria, the local subsidiary of the global telecommunications solutions provider, has disengaged about 160 permanent and outsourced workers in its Network Operating Centre. 55 fulltime employees of the company are affected.
According to details, the disengagement will take effect on Sunday, December 4, 2016.
Though efforts to get more details form the Victoria Island office of the group failed, Business Hilights gathered that the outsourcing move is driven by share target to save cost by allowing Indians who know more to monitor telecoms mast staying in India at a reduced cost.
A staff who felt so worried over the development pleaded anonymity, saying some workers had already been laid off in July when the offshoring (the practice of a company in one country arranging for people in another country to do work for it) of jobs to India began.
But the annoying angle to the scenario which may spur the federal Ministry of Investment and labour to begin full scale enquiry on the matter is that some foreign workers had been recruited to replace the disengaged workers, and knowledge transfer by Nigerian engineers to the new workers was ongoing in the company’s office in India.
More details revealed that secretly, the well planned knowledge transfer had been going on since last year when some Indians were brought into the country to study the management of telecommunications infrastructure in the country.
A copy of the front dated disengagement letter to the permanent workers signed by the Managing Director of the company, Johan Jemdahi, sighted by Business Hilights read in parts: “Please be informed that effective December 4, 2016, your position has been declared redundant.
“We thank you for all your past services to Ericsson. Further information about the redundancy benefits will be communicated to you before the actual termination date,” the terse statement.
In the last two and half years, Ericsson Nigeria had managed the MTN network majorly from its pool of local workers, some of who were former MTN employees, as well as other contracted workers.
Key allegation that may be viewed with anger by the federal government is that the company was offering the jobs, which involved the monitoring of MTN masts and networks in the country, to Indians at reduced costs.
Experts say this is time for the government to rise to the challenge to tame such unfavourable labour practice before it begins to go round in the telecoms industry.
A more disgusting revelation form some of the affected staff is that “The Company said it was cheaper for the work to be done in India than in Nigeria. The monitoring of those masts can be done from anywhere. We monitor Abuja, Enugu, Asaba, and Port Harcourt sites from the Lagos office. What they are now proposing is that instead of monitoring from Lagos, they want to monitor from India.
“They have taken the Airtel NOC office to India. They brought about 30 Indians to Nigeria last year to come and understudy the MTN network and after a month, they went back and started monitoring from there. There are no plans to pay compensation to the outsourced workers in the company.”
The Public Relations Manager, Sub-Saharan Africa, Ericsson, Toju Egbebi, who confirmed the development to our correspondent, said the move was part of the company’s global cost and efficiency programme to achieve a net annual cost savings of Swedish Krona 9bn, adding that the programme would continue till 2017.