Friday, July 13, 2018

MTN offices reopen in Nigeria after days of violent protests

MTN Group Ltd. reopened offices in Nigeria that had been closed since Monday due to violent protests by labor groups against Africa’s largest mobile-phone company by subscribers.

Staff were assaulted and properties vandalized during the demonstrations, the Johannesburg-based company said in an emailed response to questions on Friday. The wireless carrier is working with the Nigerian Communications Commission, government ministries and industry groups to reach an “amicable resolution” with unions led by the Nigeria Labour Congress, MTN said.

A spokesman for MTN Nigeria said later Friday that the offices were back open. He declined to comment on whether a settlement had been reached with the labor groups.

The NLC had been picketing MTN’s offices across Nigeria all this week, accusing the company of refusing to allow workers to be asked whether they want to join a labor union. The company rejected the claim, saying none of its workers took part in the protest.

MTN is the market leader in Nigeria with almost 55 million customers, but has had a troubled relationship with Africa’s most populous country in recent years. In 2015, the company was hit with a regulatory fine that led to more than 18 months of negotiations that eroded the share price. Last year, MTN Nigeria’s headquarters in the capital, Abuja, were vandalized in retaliation for xenophobic attacks on Nigerians in South Africa.

The shares declined 0.2 percent to 106.67 rand as of 12:15 p.m. in Johannesburg, extending the year-to-date drop to 21 percent.

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