It is no news that the excruciating heat of the credit crunch is taking serious toll on many businesses in the world and that has been making some companies, out of their managerial defects to layoff their staff in an indiscriminate manner with total disregard to labour legal provisions. No doubt the operations of end-to-end telecommunications infrastructure giant, LM Ericsson in Nigeria may soon be grounded if it carries out its threat to retrench its Nigerian workers.
This is because the morale at the company with headquarters at Walter Carrington Crescent, Victoria Island in Lagos, has hit an all time low now. The workers who have vowed to resist an impending mass sack with everything in them are no longer motivated to put in their best in any way.
Consequently, they are silently protesting the highhandedness of the management of the company which earlier illegally banned them from active participation in unionism.
Huhuonline.com gathered that after Ericsson sent out a circular to members of staff that due to its current reorganisation exercise as a way to cut cost, some of them would be the way out of the company, Nigerian workers in the company could not imagine the justification for the grim news. Sources reckon that the Nigerian operation of the Swedish company has continued to yield a lot of profit for the company despite the economic meltdown that has halted economic activities all over the world. Infact, we learnt that the Nigeria operation is only one of the few operations of the company that has continued to be profitable inspite of the recession.
There are indications that the decision of the company to send local workers packing is fallout of its activities In South Africa. LM Ericsson was said to have ran at a loss in 2008 in South Africa but was unable to retrench workers as a cost cutting measure as a result of strong labour laws in South Africa. The result of its loss in South Africa is now about to be visited on Nigerian workers, as the company feels that anything goes in Nigeria as Labour Laws are hardly recognised let alone been enforced. We also gathered that as a result of protest by Nigerians working in the Company, the management decided to carry out its intention through the back doors. Local workers have been asked to resign and reapply to the company. This was vehemently rejected as it amounts to the same mass purge of the local workers by another deceptive guise. Local workers have continued to mobilise as the management seems detrimental in carrying out its intimidating mass sack threat.
Meanwhile, there are indications that the company may have flouted immigration laws and Expatriate Quota regime in its employment of expatriate staff. Huhuonline.com discovered that foreign workers hired as consultants for just a three month period end up working for the company for years. At a time, it was gathered that there were close to 300, such expatriate consultants who illegally worked for the company. Sources say that the problem is, these expatriates do not contribute as much as the local workers, they are better remunerated. The company accommodates, feeds and places them on a high salary scale, they equally use state-of the-art-official cars.
Huhuonline.com checks also have it that the management of the company has reserved a couple of positions in the company for only expatriate workers despite the fact that there are\several Nigerians better qualified to handle such positions. Hence the tension at the company is now palpable. Though, the Precision Electrical and Related Equipment Senior Staff Association (PERESSA) which is affiliated to the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria is poised for a showdown with the management of LM Ericsson. In a letter dated 30th of October 2009 and signed by T.K. Olatunji, Ag Gen. Sec, the group warned of dire consequences, should the company’s management proceed to retrench local workers in the guise of cost cutting.
However, the group requested for a meeting with the management of Ericsson but threatened to mobilise the full force of the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria for appropriate response, if the planned move is not suspended.
Information gathered at the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for comments showed that the Commission may take actions if LM Ericsson continues to flout Nigerian laws by carrying out actions that are impossible in other countries. L.M. Ericsson is one of the leading telecommunications equipment suppliers in the world and the supplier of choice for Nigeria as most operators deploys for their services. Operators that make use of Ericsson switches and other equipments include MTN, Zain, Zoom Mobile, MTEL and a couple of others. Meanwhile, while LM Ericsson was reacting to this scandal through it Director, HR and Blair Mackenzie maintained that Ericsson like any other global corporations has had to respond to global financial crisis to remain competitive and well positioned for the future, and that Ericsson has embarked on a cost reduction and right sizing exercise and the sub-Saharan part of this adjustment is currently underway and will also affect Nigeria. As a result of this exercise there are likely to be some job losses.
It was further confirmed that the exercise would be handled with utmost sensitivity and professionalism, Ericsson has communicated openly about their structure and potential for redundancies through letters, emails, workshops and all-employee meetings since July 2009, and provided all employees with opportunity to provide feedback on the proposed restructure as well as suggestions for avoiding job losses. For those that could ultimately be affected by the redundancies, Ericsson Nigeria has consulted labour lawyers to ensure that those employees are treated and compensated fairly and in accordance with the provisions of Nigerian labour law.
It is unfortunate to see Nigerian citizens turning out to be an object of ridicule and victims of labour chastisement by foreign nationals, this is one, too many a call. Such national slap is apparently sending a signal that Nigeria is a country where rights of labour can be trampled on without recourse to justice.
However, as a good people great nation, Ministry of Labour and other stakeholders in the country need to look into these irregularities to ensure that the constitutional rights of Nigerians as it relates to labour are not flouted by any alien who would not respect local content and other rules of engagements. It is not just LM Ericsson, there are several other companies in Nigeria found culpable of a similar act. There are cases of machines and chemicals deforming people while in active service and due compensations are not given to them.
CBN Gov Approves Charter On Ease Of Doing Business
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Olayemi Cardoso, has approved the CBN’s reviewed Service Charter.
A statement from the CBN, midweek, said the service charter is a requirement of the Business Facilitation Act 2022 for driving the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
“It also enables the Bank to fully comply with the directives of SERVICOM Nigeria (The Presidency) on improvement of customer service delivery.
“The charter outlines how the bank promises to work with its external customers in meeting their expectations of service along with what the Bank expects from them”, according to the statement.
It stated that the Governor reiterated the Bank’s commitment to providing more responsive and citizen-friendly governance through quality service delivery that is efficient, accountable and transparent.
According to the CBN, “The document clearly outlines the Bank’s mandates, vision, mission, and core values. It contains the list of services offered by the Bank through its various departments and the service standards for each service.
“The service charter also includes a standardised Customer Complaints Form for reporting service failure as well as a mechanism for addressing service failure in any of the Bank’s services”.
Bayelsa, NCDMB Task Youths On Skills Acquisition, Opportunities
The Bayelsa State Government has charged youths across the Niger Delta states to leverage on skills acquired to eke out a meaningful living.
The State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, gave the charge Tuesday in Yenagoa, the state capital, at the Youth session of the 2023 edition of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) annual Practical Nigerian Content (PNC) programme.
Diri, represented by the State Commissioner for Youths and Sports, Dr Bralate Daniel Igali, noted that though conventional education is needed in most cases to enable job seekers get better placements in organisations, skill acquisition is inevitable in the contemporary world.
He tasked the youths not to relent in self development, noting that as participants in the fora organized for their development, youths must not just be listeners and participants, but should seize those opportunities to make judicious use of their potentials.
“Over the years, youths have participated in several empowerment and vocational training programmes, but it seems many aren’t taking such opportunities seriously.
“As youths, you must endeavour to make maximum use of knowledge and skills acquired to develop yourself and become a responsibly, productive citizen.
“I charge you not only to be listeners and participants in the lectures and training the NCDMB and others would be giving you today as part of their 2023 PNC programme, but to strive to derive the greatest benefit from it”, Governor Diri said.
Earlier in his opening remarks, the Executive Secretary, NCDMB, Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, called on youths to take advantage of the various empowerment and employment opportunities made available by the board.
Represented by the General Manager, Corporate Communication and Zonal Coordination of the NCDMB, Mrs Angela Okoro, Wabote stated that the rationale behind the forum was to inform youths about activities of the board, noting that the annual programme enables participants benefit from various opportunities provided in the oil and gas sector.
He called on participants to register on the NCDMB’s NOGIC JQS portal to be qualified for training, contracts and other available opportunities.
In her presentation on the prospects of the ongoing NLNG Train-7 project, the Coordination Lead of the Project, Dr. Rachael Tamunoso Ibibam, said there were numerous opportunities in the project.
She said the Train-7 Project comes with new development opportunities that will generate about 12,000 jobs and increase Nigeria’s revenue earnings, as well as provide sufficient LPGs for the local Nigerian market, noting also that the project is 54% completed.
“I want to commend the NCDMB for promoting and encouraging Nigerian businesses. I would like to call on you, participating youths in this forum, to register with the NCDMB as vendors to be qualified to execute contracts in the Train-7 project”, she said.
Delivering a paper on conflict management skills at the programme, a Resource Person, Dr. Patterson Ogon, called for collaborative efforts between and amongst individuals to resolve conflict at home and in the workplaces.
By: Ariwera Ibibo-Howells, Yenagoa
Five Multinationals Exit Nigeria In 10 Months
An analysis of separate notices filed by five multinational firms has shown that the five multinationals have winded down operations in Nigeria in the last 10 months.
On Wednesday, Consumer goods giant, Procter & Gambles, disclosed that it would dissolve on-ground operations in the country.
Chief Financial Officer of the group, Andre Schulten, stated this during his presentation at the Morgan Stanley Global Consumer and Retail Conference.
The company said it was difficult to do business in Nigeria as a dollar-denominated organisation and the macro-economic reality in Nigeria is responsible for its latest strategic decision.
Schulten said, “The other reality that arises in some of these markets is that it gets increasingly difficult to operate and create U.S dollar value.
“So, when you think about places like Nigeria and Argentina, it is difficult for us to operate because of the macro-economic environment.
“So, with that in mind, we are announcing a restructuring programme with the intent to adjust the operating model and adjust the portfolio to ensure that we maintain the portfolio discipline that has brought us to this point.
“The restructuring programme will largely focus on Nigeria and Argentina. We’ve announced that we will turn Nigeria into an import-only market, effectively dissolving our footprint on the ground in Nigeria and reverting to an import-only model”.
The company joins a growing list of multinationals set to exit Nigeria in 2023, following the footsteps of Unilever, which is the first Multinational to announce that it would fold up operations in Nigeria in 2023.
In March, the company had said changes in its business meant it had to exit its home care and skin cleansing categories from Nigeria.
The announcement meant that famous brands such as Omo, Sunlight and Lux, which many Nigerians had become accustomed to, would no longer be on retail shelves.
The company’s decision to end production in Nigeria is connected to increased financial difficulties occasioned by the continued devaluation of the naira, among others.
President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Francis Meshioye, told The Tide’s source that some international manufacturing firms had already exited Nigeria as a result of the power crisis, coupled with the unpredictability of the country’s foreign exchange rate before it was recently unified.
He said the N144bn spent on alternative energy sources by manufacturers in 2022 impacted adversely on the operations of his members.
In July, barely a month after Meshioye’s warning, GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Nigeria Plc, the country’s second-biggest drug producer, announced it was halting manufacturing operations in Nigeria.
According to a statement published on the Nigeria Exchange, GSK Plc (Headquartered in the UK), which owns a majority stake in the Nigerian unit, said it will appoint third-party distributors to sell its prescription medicines and vaccines in the country.
GSK’s consumer-health arm, Haleon Plc, also informed GSK Nigeria of its “intent to terminate its distribution agreement in the coming months” and appoint a third-party distributor.
GSK also said it planned “an accelerated cash distribution and return of capital” to minority shareholders.
No reason was given for the company’s exit, though the company had in the past raised concerns about the scarcity of forex which made it difficult to maintain supplies of its pharmaceutical and vaccine products in Nigeria.
Last month, Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical multinational, announced its exit from Nigeria.
The company said it had appointed a third-party distributor to handle its commercial portfolio of medicines from February 2024.
While the company’s Country Manager, Folake Odediran, had described the decision as a strategic move driven by the company’s commitment to continually improve access to medicines, the company’s financials indicated that operating in Nigeria had been a tall order.
Shortly after Sanofi’s announcement, Bolt Food announced that it had made the difficult decision to discontinue its food delivery operations in Nigeria due to business reasons.
According to a statement by the company, the decision was borne out of the need to “streamline its resources and maximise overall efficiency”.
Business3 days ago
Five Multinationals Exit Nigeria In 10 Months
Rivers3 days ago
Group Calls For Investigation Into Rivers Political Crisis
Sports3 days ago
Nigeria Makes Final Team Of The Year Award
Nation3 days ago
Labour Union Petitions Three Lawyers Over Compromise Allegation
News3 days ago
RSG, TAF, GOSH Sign MoU For 20,000 Housing Units, Spare Parts Hubs …As Fubara Assures Investment’ll Drive Economic Growth
Politics3 days ago
Third Republic Lawmakers Demand Unpaid Salaries, Allowances
Featured3 days ago
NJC Declines Adeleke’s Request To Replace Osun CJ, Sacks High Court Judge
Business3 days ago
Bayelsa, NCDMB Task Youths On Skills Acquisition, Opportunities