Bloomberg News

Airtel Nigeria Closes Call Centres After Ex-Workers Make Threats

October 04, 2011

Oct. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Call centers that provide service to Airtel Nigeria Ltd., which operates a mobile-phone network in Africa’s most populous nation, were closed following threats from former workers to damage facilities.

Sites in Abuja and Lagos were shut Sept. 30 after the operators “failed to reach agreement with workers on new employment terms,” said Emeka Opara, a spokesman for the unit of India’s Bharti Airtel Ltd. The former employees threatened to damage the facilities after their contracts weren’t renewed, he said by phone today. The sites are operated by Tech Mahindra Ltd. and Spanco Ltd., both of India, Opara said.

The contracts of 4,000 workers, which ended on Sept. 30 weren’t renewed as the companies sought new terms, Tech Mahindra and Spanco said in an e-mailed statement today. There are “plans to recruit new workers and offer some of the affected staff new contracts based on their qualifications,” according to the statement.

The Nigerian National Union of Postal and Telecommunications Employees “will resist attempts by Airtel to employ workers on contract or sever their employment in a manner that contradicts the country’s labor laws,” said Alhassan Sunday, the union’s president, by phone today.

--Editors: Emily Bowers, Vernon Wessels.

To contact the reporter on this story: Emele Onu in Lagos at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at

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