Promoting Good Governance.

An NGO is heading to court in 7 days — because Globacom ‘sacked 90 married women’

The alleged disengagement of over 90 married women by Globacom Communications Limited has been described not only as a gross act of gender discrimination and human rights violation, but also as an attack on the institution of marriage and the family life.

This is the position of Spaces for Change, a civil society organisation dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights, following a complaint by 12 of the married women so sacked by Glo two weeks ago.

The group has, therefore, given a seven-day ultimatum for the unconditional recall of the sacked women, else there would be legal action.

According to a statement by Victoria Ibezim-Ohaeri, Executive Director of Spaces for change, the women said they were laid off on March 9, 2018, few months after an internal interview during which “female employees were specifically asked questions about their marital status, how many children they had and other personal information”.

During the internal interviews, the workers felt the exercise was meant to facilitate promotion or some sort of improvement on welfare, but they were surprised to receive a letter saying they had been sacked for “under-performance”.

Ibezim-Ohaeri stated that the affected women said “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 10 years and more. Periodic staff appraisals conducted by the company during the period attest to their glowing records of professionalism and strong work ethics,” she said.

“The only thread linking together all the sacked personnel is their shared marital status: they were all married women. Substantiated media reports show that about 90 married women were affected by the mass sack.

“Globacom’s alleged sack of married women violates equality rights; represents an attack on the institution of marriage and family life.”

Similarly, the women claimed that that their pension, which was constantly deducted from their salaries, was not remitted to their respective pension administrators.

“The last time deductions were remitted to their pension administrators was in September 2017 even though their pay slips suggest that GLO continued to make deductions from their salaries between October 2017 and March 2018,” she added.

The women,said they were offered them two months salary in lieu of notice for disengagement.

“If the testimonies of the 12 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,” Ibezim-Ohaeri stated.

“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 the reinstatement of the wrongfully dismissed staff of the company within seven (7) days of this statement.

“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.”

When contacted, a staff with the public relations department of Glo, who pleaded anonymity, said he could not comment on the issue as he was on leave and had no authorisation to comment.

He advised this reporter to send a mail to the e-mail address on the Glo website. When this was done, the response was: “Please be informed that same has been channeled appropriately and a feedback will be communicated as soon as possible.”

However, Glo posted a tweet on March 19 denying the claims that it sacked people based on their marital status.

“Globacom has in the recent past let go of employees, both male and female, married and single, due to performance issues. It is not true that this was restricted to married women alone,” the post read.

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