Controversy has continued to trail the mass sack of approximately 90 people by Telecom firm, Globacom. Amidst reports last week that the firm laid off 90 of its female staff in various Glo Friendship Centres across the country for being married, an official told PREMIUM TIMES it was a routine exercise that affected all staff irrespective of gender or marital status.
Some staff of the telecommunication firm were on March 9 served termination letters. The development triggered speculations that the women affected in the purge were sacked for being married.
Following the report, which went viral online, Nigerians accused the company of discrimination, not only against women, but also against their marital status.
But an official of the company, who requested that her name not be disclosed for fear of victimisation as she was not authorised to speak on the matter, said reports about only female staff members being sacked because of their marital status was not correct.
“The truth is that people were sacked. Men, women, married and unmarried were sacked,” she said. “There are many reasons for all those things. But, when people say only unmarried women were affected, I don’t understand where that is coming from.
“As I speak, there are so many married women in the company. There were cases where men were removed and replaced with women in some sensitive positions,” she said.
The official, who described the sack as a normal annual evaluation and rationalisation exercise, said a lot of people who met the minimum performance criteria set by the company, were promoted, including married women.
The official said the real reason the affected staff were asked to go was their failure to successfully scale through an annual performance appraisal exercise.
“People who claimed they were removed because they were married did not say what they did to deserve that.
“At the end of every year, every normal organization conducts an annual performance evaluation of staff. If the cut-off point is say 80 percent, and one fails to meet it, one would know what would happen.
“In fact, even if one scores 100 percent, one would still be at the discretion of the company if you have one or two issues pending against them in the past.”
In a service industry as telecoms, she said, it was possible some of them were rude to customers and the report got to management.
“No decent company comes out to talk about what they do about their staff appraisal. But, the issue is that Nigerians know how to appeal to emotions. So, even if they did something wrong, to attract sympathy, they would choose one thing that appeals to sentiments to blame their sack on.”
She said the management of the company had fulfilled all its obligations to the affected workers, particularly the payment of all their benefits and entitlements.
“All the affected workers were paid their emolument as they were going. The truth is that it might be a painful decision. But, if an organisation does an appraisal of its staff and found some to be wanting in their productivity, no one would want to keep them. Anyone who keeps non-performing staff would be jeopardising their bottom line at the end of the year,” the official said.
Efforts to get an official reaction from the firm were unsuccessful as its spokesperson declined comment.
It is not clear why the firm, owned by billionaire Mike Adenuga, does not want to publicly clarify its actions.