Friday, July 02, 2010

Wahala at MTN

Sent from an anonymous source at MTN. It would be good to hear the other side of the story, if there is one..

"On the 18th November 2009 just before the close of business, the unexpected happened in the CR division of MTN Nigeria; 65 staff were sacked; never in the history of MTN Nigeria was there an act so close to this. It marked the beginning of tyranny in MTN. The architect and mastermind of this was no other than the one that parades himself as the alpha and omega of the division, the CR Executive, Mr. Akin Braithwaite. Worst still, this happened during the much celebrated customer service week; the week the CR set to celebrate its internal and external customers. Of note is that 90% of the staff laid off were very dedicated and contributed immensely to the growth of their various units, the CR and MTN in general and would have been rewarded for their exemplary service to the company.

One begins to wonder the reason for this. On the 19th of November Just the next day, the Exec sent a very amusing mail accusing the 65 of Cheat, Disconnected, and Lackadaisical, and on the 20th, some Newspapers carried contradictory publications that CR was restructuring and had purchased equipment worth N4.5b and so 65 must go. This is ridiculous! First Mr. Exec, after six months of this dishonorable act we are still awaiting the arrival of the so-called state of the art equipment. Are you aware that majority of the staff you sacked were among the best in their various units? Secondly, you and your dunderhead Andrew forgot to tell MTNers how you cheated to get in, the rule is 4years after Econet before taking up another job with a competing firm? How did you get to MTN almost immediately you were disgraced out of Econet? Thirdly, if you were not disconnected from the situation in CR why did you not know that the majority of the people you and your woman-wrapper Victor Olomu promoted in September 2009 were not ripe for the promotion. Fourthly, Mr Exec, a good follower could only be as good as his leader. If you and your management team were up and doing, your staff would not be lackadaisical. Again, of the 67 staff you promoted for their perceived dedication in September 2009, an almost equal number (65) were sacked in less than two months of which majority were among those promoted? What a devil’s gift! You are a confused man; this is your best time to resign because you have no vision for CR. Since this monstrous act, we have waited for the transformation in CR but none has come, instead we see some odd changes. Today we have over 40 reps managed by a supervisor, the recent supervisors swap was the most unintelligent idea we saw in recent time. Your managers are virtually non exiting, the call center is running on its own. You have run short of ideas because your evil plans are gradually catching up with you. HR on its own had tried to come up with its own version telling us that the staff were non perfomers. but we ask, how do you measure perfomance in MTN nigeria, is it by mere words from departments' Execs or by the yearly perfomance appraisal? if the former is the case then we are all in trouble because our jobs will be taken away one day. To sum this up Mr Exec, if these were genuine reasons, were they enough justification to sack? Are there no HR policies and procedures for staff recruitment and termination? Even in the case of severe fraud, MTN’s policy requires that the accused be given a chance to defend himself, and for performance issue? at least six months is given for the staff to seat up. All HR staff including Amina Oyagbola that couldn’t interpret their policies have no business in HR, they should resign their appointments immediately because our jobs are no longer safe in their hands, their actions have shown that the GCA and other HR surveys we spend our time filling every now and then for better staff welfare and programs are not intended to achieve any purpose and really, they have never achieved any. What happened to the 65 could have happened to anyone in MTN because there was no reason for this, MTN is a big multinational and shouldn’t be used by any to achieve personal objectives. Where in the policy is it that some staff must be sacked immediately the management is angered?

The kinds of stage management that go on in CR is enough to make staff disgruntled. We were all witnesses to the behind the scene intrigues orchestrated by CR that brought Obiageli Maduka to the Legal unit in CR as a specialist some years back. The interview was attended by far more experienced and qualified staffers in CR but after some abracadabra moves by CR management then headed by Andrew Esemezie, Obiageli who was just less than a year as a contract staff in the call center and had no knowledge in the legal profession was declared successful above other candidates because big sister Winifred Ajakpovi was the HR Advisor in CR then. The uproar that greeted this was enormous but no one said anything openly because there was no freedom of speech anyway. This was followed again by the Seun Babalola’s saga, we all knew how the story ended. This is a common trend in CR, less qualified staff with less years of experience are promoted over more experienced ones just because they lick some managers boot.

Why would there not be agitation? Sometimes one wonders if the policy in MTN is the same that applies for CR, things are done so differently in CR, that a manager doesn’t like your face is enough reason not to invite you for an interview no matter how qualified you are. Some very good and experienced staff in CR have left out of frustration to take up administrative positions in other departments and they are happy there.

Back to Mr Akin, you are a leader but you know little about leadership and crises management. One anonymous email from a fake John Elliot costs 65 their means of livelihood. Now we know John Elliot was not the problem afterall because we now know you are the real John Elliot. Akin came to MTN for a purpose - that which he couldn’t get in Econet, he must get from MTN. He came as one who didn’t believe in contract jobs and was able to convert some of the temporary staff to permanent, but not many knew his real intention was to outsource the CR Unit (Levels 1 and 2) so that he and his cohorts can make as much money as possible. To achieve this, he needed an imaginary being in the name of John Elliot to create confusion by sending slanderous mails. This may sound unbelievable but very few knew this. Akin Braithwaite is indeed the real John Elliot (Have you wondered why this John Elliot has suddenly gone under?). Now management has bought his idea and CR will be outsourced sooner than we expect. Where were you some years back when MTN was reputed to be the worst telecom firm in Nigeria in terms of network quality and constant application downtimes? You never knew how bad it was. Majority of the 65 you sacked were then the frontline staff that carried the brunt of the customers’ anger. They were those who pleaded with the customers to stay in the midst of the so much pressure generated by these downtimes, they were among the greats that built MTN to the level of the biggest telecom firm in Nigeria, they were the true MTNers. And just when they were settling to reap the fruit of their hard labour as a result of improved network quality, you appeared like a thief from a dead Econet/Vodacom/Vnet/Vmobile/Celtel to cut short their harvest all in the name of restructuring. Why did you not restructure Econet? You left Econet for dead and now in MTN to reap where you did not sow. God will pay you back in your coin! It’s beyond belief to assume that any company in Nigeria not faced with the economic crunch would lay off workers considering the high level of unemployment currently in the country. And to think that MTN Nigeria contributes more than 40% of the group’s total revenue and surpassed its financial year 2009 target since June of same year, then one can only conclude that this is inhuman!

Akin, you have set a dangerous precedent; the once harmonious atmosphere and job security hitherto enjoyed by MTNers have been breached now other execs will trail your path. It’s unfortunate you rapped everyone with your sugar coated tongue including HR and Legal into this but we will observe how this unfolds.

Its over seven months but we will not forget our great colleagues, we will keep remembering them until justice is done.

We reserve other comments

Concerned MTNers"


Mogaji 6:45 pm  

Jeez, this is super hard to follow.

Baba (The Anti-Butthole Activist),  11:01 pm  

Is it his company? He can go and eat shit as far as the company heads are concerned. Those workers are f'd, this is Naija and there are no worker-protection rights - sadly.

If he wants to stop whining, he should go start his own company and be his own boss. There - solution!

Anonymous,  12:17 am  

The writer is a coward. S/he is speaking from both mouths and it is people like this that put others in problems just like the case of John Elliot s/he mentioned. If s/he is not happy with the employer s/he should resign.

Whatever happens to loyalty in employment.

Anonymous,  12:05 am  

Welcome to PRIVATE enterprise dude...

If you want job security (relative, of course), feel free to join the civil service. And if your sacked buddies are as great as you proclaim, they should have no trouble landing on their feet elsewhere -- or starting their own shop(s).

Nigerians should stop treating private sector employment as if it is a life-time engagement. Just make sure you get your full severance entitlements and move on. When one door closes, another opens.

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