Nigerian press was awash with reports that two BPO services providers to Airtel Nigeria had shut down their operations and sent over 4,000 workers home. The story was not adding up but vanguard and Business Week swallowed the bait. Now Spanco and Tech Mahindra who were the subjects of the messages being shared in the social media and Vanguard and Business Week report have come out to deny the allegations.

The two companies have said they are working on a business model which will see them engage even more employees. Tech Mahindra and Spanco say that the contract between the two companies and the service providers which hired the employees ended on 30th September 2011 and they are now looking to engage the employees and new ones directly.

Full Statement;

Lagos, Nigeria; Monday, October 03, 2011: We, Tech Mahindra and Spanco, are global Business Process Outsourcing
(BPOs) companies and providers of Call Centre services to Airtel Nigeria, operating out of two call
centres in Lagos and Abuja, respectively.

Our attention has been drawn to several messages circulating in cyberspace alleging that our client, Airtel had
fired 3,000 Call Centre agents due to a disagreement over a purported plan to reduce salaries. This is untrue
and we want to use this medium to put the facts right.

Last year, following the signing of a landmark BPO Agreement with the Airtel Group, we jointly inherited over
1,600 Call Centre agents from Bezaleel, HR Indexx and CCSNL who hitherto provided agents for the company
known then as Zain. The contract existing between us and two of the agencies namely CCSNL and HR Index
expired effective Friday September 30, 2011. The third agency, Bezaleel’s, contract will expire in January 2012.
So, there is no issue of mass sack but expiration of existing contracts.

Prior to the expiration of the contracts, we had engaged representatives of the Agents and that of the organized
Labour on how to manage their transition to our roll. Due to a lack of consensus on the way forward and
an apparent threat to our facilities by some of the agents, we were compelled to suspend operations at the call
centres last Friday, September 30, 2011.

Going forward, our plan is to recruit new agents and also offer some of the affected agents a new contract with
attendant salaries and benefits based on their qualifications and experience. Our vision is to expand the Call
Centre business in Nigeria to 5000 capacity, ultimately.

On the issue of salaries, we state categorically that as world class organizations, we offer our employees remuneration
and benefits comparable to standards across the world and in compliance with the working and
labour laws of Nigeria.

We, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians, especially Airtel customers, to bear with us as we seek to expeditiously
resolve the issues and re-open the call centres in the coming days. Indeed, we have also taken appropriate
measures to ensure that our client’s customers experience minimal inconvenience during this brief period.
It is important to note that the activities of these disgruntled Agents are capable of frustrating investors with
good intentions and make nonsense of the Federal Government’s drive for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).
We are committed to growing the BPO industry in Nigeria and by so doing we will give meaning to the quest by
the Federal Government of Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan to create jobs as part of his master plan to re-engineer
the Nigerian economy.

Vanguard has since removed the story it published online.