At least about 83 per cent of the workforce of Visafone, amounting to about 2, 000 workers may have been thrown into the job market as a result of an acquisition of the company by telecommunications giant, MTN.
The deal which has been kept quiet for certain reasons may soon be made public by the South African company that is still battling a whooping N780 billion fine placed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for flaunting the regulator’s SIM registration directive.
The workers were reportedly disengaged with effect from January 5, 2016, and paid three months’ salaries as severance package, as Visafone winds down operations.
The only categories of employees said to be left were those in the personnel and transmission departments.
One of the affected workers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the sacking came as a surprise to many of them.
“We learnt that the management would downsize, but we were told that that would be later in 2016. It is, however, surprising that they are sending majority of us away so early in the year. Though they paid three months’ severance benefits, but should it be this way?
“Some of us have put in five to 10 years of our lives in keeping the business going, but see what we are getting now. It is well.”
A senior management employee at Visafone confirmed the sacking, but was quick to refer media enquiries to MTN because he was not authorised to speak on the deal.
When contacted, MTN Nigeria neither denied nor confirmed the deal, but said the management was already working on a statement that would be made available to journalists later in the day or today (Thursday).
Reliable sources stated that the MTN would have completed the acquisition of Visafone before the end of 2015, but for the N1.04tn fine slammed on it by the Nigerian Communications Commission.
It was gathered that the challenges in the nation’s economy had also frustrated plans by the MTN to absorb at least 50 per cent of the sacked Visafone workers and because “it wants to reduce its exposure in Nigeria.”
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