PRESS STATEMENT: Globacom’s Alleged Sack of Married Women Violates Equality Rights

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Glo

PRESS STATEMENT    | MARCH 19, 2018

 

**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**

 

GLOBACOMM SACKS OVER 90 WOMEN SEEMINGLY ON THE BASIS OF MARITAL STATUS

SPACES FOR CHANGE is deeply concerned about the alleged mass sack of married women formerly in the employ of Globacom Communications Limited.  On Thursday, March 15, 2018, thirteen (13) married women, all of whom were ex-staff of Globacom Communications (herein referred to as GLO), lodged a complaint against their former employer for wrongful disengagement, gender discrimination and gross violation of their social and economic rights.

 

Globacom Limited, a Nigerian multinational telecommunications company headquartered in Lagos, is a privately-owned telecommunications carrier that started operations on 29 August 2003. The telecommunications company disengaged the services of these women on March 9, 2018 for no apparent reason. No reason was cited in the disengagement letters made available to SPACES FOR CHANGE.

 

Prior to the mass sack, GLO conducted a staff profiling exercise few months earlier. This comprised of internal personnel interviews where female employees were specifically asked questions about their marital status, how many children they have and other personal information was held. The interviews were conducted between December 29, 2017 and January 4, 2018. After the one to two minutes interview, a professional photographer was asked to take full length and passport-sized photograph of all the employees interviewed. In the wake of this exercise, there were speculations among staff that the interviews were designed to facilitate promotion and other improvements in staff welfare. To their chagrin, an influx of new personnel was noticed shortly thereafter. It was when the new employees were assigned to take over their positions that the prospects of an imminent job loss dawned on them.

 

S4C found that Globacom employs its personnel in the name of multiple companies. As a result, most employees have multiple employment letters either issued by Contact Center Ltd., Dragnet Ventures Ltd., All Transcontinental Enterprises, GML Ltd. and so forth. Sangowawa, the then head of Globacomm’s Human Resources signed all the different employment letters whether issued by Contact Center, Dragnet Ltd, All Transcontinental Enterprises and so forth. In effect, Globacom recruited all of the employees in the name of the different companies.

 

At the point of interviews, prospective employees were interviewed by Globacom staff while the Chairman himself, Dr. Mike Adenuga, conducts the final interview. A review of some of the employment letters showed that Globacom issued letters in the name of Contact Center Services to some employees while Dragnet Ventures and others issued confirmation of employment. However, all correspondences regarding staff remuneration, staff designations, staff appraisals, staff transfers and recommendation letters were all exchanged directly between Globacom Ltd and the employees.

 

In an internal memo dated March 9, 2018, Globacom issued disengagement letters to the affected women, and directed the affected staff to report to another outsourcing company, GML (Global Manpower Ltd) whom most staff claimed that they have not had any previous correspondence with. As stated before, no reasons were disclosed in the disengagement letters.

 

At an interview with SPACES FOR CHANGE, all (13) women reiterated that they have never been queried or disciplined for either low or nonperformance. None of them had ever been involved in any form unprofessional or dishonorable conduct. Most of them had been in the employ of GLO for up to 10years and more. Periodic staff appraisals conducted by the company during the period attest to their glowing records of professionalism and strong work ethics. S4C reviewed the key performance indicator of a particular affected employee. There was no year that she scored below outstanding. Another employee scored 100% in January 2018, a month before the sack and was given a token of appreciation by the deputy head of department. None of the sacked women had ever received a warning or query for non-performance prior to the disengagement. In January 2018, some of the disengaged were even invited for promotional interview. All of these demonstrate that the mass sack had nothing to do with employee performance.

 

Substantiated media reports show that more than 90 persons were affected by the mass sack. The only thread linking all the sacked personnel together is their shared marital status: they were mostly married women. The highest number of married women sacked was from Lagos. The people that previously occupied the position of Cluster Managers and Shop Managers comprised single, married ladies and men. Currently, they have all been replaced with single ladies and men. Ex-employees of Globacom identified 120 female married personnel of Gloword, (Glo Friendship Centers) PAN Nigeria. Out of  the120 women, 98 were disengaged leaving only 22. Out of 52 single ladies who are staff of Gloworld, only 4 were affected by the mass sack. These facts suggest that married women were targeted by the company’s mass sack policy.

 

One month salary was paid lieu of notice. Tax deductions on the last salary were spectacularly different from previous deductions. All were outrageously taxed of their monthly salary. Pension deducted was last paid in September for most of them.

 

If the testimonies of the 13 women are anything to go by, GLO’s no-married-women policy constitutes a marked violation of social and economic rights, including the constitutional prohibition of non-discrimination on the basis of gender. SPACES FOR CHANGE regards this targeting of women on the basis of their gender and marital status as a violation of human dignity and equality. It further represents an attack on the institution of marriage and family life. In a recent decision, the National Industrial Court has held that disengaging long-serving personnel without a valid reason is an arbitrary decision that is condemnable, objectionable and insensitive, especially at a time of growing economic crisis in the country.

 

We call on GLO to clear the air on the circumstances leading to the sack of married women in their employ and replacing them with non-married personnel. We are further demanding an apology and compensation for the wrongful disengagement and infringement on their fundamental human rights. Should GLO fail to comply with this ultimatum, we reserve the right to take every necessary step to protect the rights of the affected women.

 

SIGNED:

SPACES FOR CHANGE

__________________________________________________________________

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