Court Orders MTN To Pay 63 Sacked Staff 4years Post-disengagement Salary

The Lagos Division of the National Industrial Court has ordered MTN
Nigeria Communications to pay full four years post-disengagement
salaries to 63 workers, who were laid off by
the company in 2009, Punch
The court presided over by Justice P.O. Lifu orderd MTN to pay
judgment credit sum within 30 days from October 26, 2016 when the
judgment was delivered, failing which the judgment credit would attract
an annual interest of 10 per cent. The court also awarded additional
N10,000 against MTN in favour of each of the 63 workers to cover the
cost of filing the suit numbered NICN/LA/596/2013.
The claimants in the suit are Harrison Ossai, Gabriel Ameh and
Stephen Mahaja, who sued on behalf of themselves and 60 other workers
laid off by MTN with the condition that they must never work with any
other telecommunication company for four years after their
disengagement. The claimants had, in their suit, claimed to have been
subjected to financial hardship on account of the restraint of trade
imposed on them by MTN.

Ossai, in his testimony before the court, said the trade restraint
imposed by MTN bungled his chances of being employed by Globacom and
Airtel, which were other telecommunication companies, adding that after
being sacked by MTN, he was jobless for six years. Like other claimants,
he urged the court to order MTN to pay him N10m and another N20m for
filing the suit.
In his judgment, Justice Lifu said he was “satisfied that the
claimants had proved their claims before the court as to the oppressive
and unreasonableness of the restraint of trade covenant for four years
for making and leaving the claimants hard and dry for four years.”
The judge held, “Terminating the employment of the claimants and at
the same time restricting them from seeking any employment from the
sector generally and preventing them to be acting as agents or adviser
or to engage in any other concern directly or indirectly for four years
is clearly unreasonable in the light of global economic challenges
occasioned by recession, which has resulted in mass unemployment.”
The judge ruled that each of the workers was entitled to be paid his
last gross salary for four years after being sacked and ordered MTN to
pay with an additional N10,000 each as cost.

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