MTN tells Nigerian staff to stay at home due to strike

South Africa’s telecoms group MTN on Thursday told its staff in Nigeria to stay at home after the country’s main unions launched a nationwide strike to demand a higher minimum wage from the government.

Talks between the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the government to avert the strike broke down on Wednesday. Unions want the government to almost triple the monthly minimum wage to around 50,000 naira ($164) from 18,000 naira.

President Muhammadu Buhari’s government had vowed to review the minimum wage, particularly in the wake of a fuel price hike and currency devaluation in the last two years both aimed at countering the effects of a plunge in global oil prices, Nigeria’s economic mainstay.

Meanwhile, it was announced yesterday that Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele was optimistic the bank would resolve a dispute linked to allegations that South African telecom firm MTN moved funds out of the country illegally.

The bank month ordered MTN and its banks to bring $8.134 billion back into the country that MTN allegedly had sent abroad in breach of foreign exchange regulations.

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