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Johannesburg - MTN, Africa's cellular giant has laid off 280 employees in its Nigerian unit, according to reports.

The telecommunications company sacked 280 or about 15 percent of its Nigerian workforce, on Friday, reported.

Citing a source, the report said that the axing was necessary because of the changing dynamics of the telecommunications industry in recent time.

It said that the service provider introduced had the Voluntary Severance Scheme (VSS), urging staff to apply for voluntary disengagement.

According to the source, only 200 workers applied for the VSS, while 80 were given compulsory disengagement. 

The source also said that those affected were those who had worked for five years and above in the company. 

It added that the affected workers were given a severance pay of 75 percent of their gross monthly income, multiplied by the number of years they had worked with the company. 

Read also: MTN discussed share sale of Nigerian unit

MTN has grappled with a political hot potato in Nigeria where it was slapped with a hefty regulatory fine for failing to deactivate unregistered SIM cards. The group which is in the process of restructuring its portfolio appointed a new CEO, Rob Shuter, who will take over by July.