Aviation unions raise alarm over safety implications of unresolved labour issues

General Secretary NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Abba, Deputy General Secretary ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole and Secretary General of ANAP, Comrade Abdul Rasaq Saidu at the press briefing on Wednesday


Posted by Sade Williams


Aviation unions, comprising the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and Association of Nigeria AVIATION Professionals (ANAP), on Wednesday, raised the alarm of the risk on safety of the sector, from several issues beleaguering it, saying this calls for emergency.


At a press conference titled ‘Aviation Is In A State Of Emergency’,  addressed by the unions at Lagos airport, they noted that if the issues raised by the members and others that arose as a result of action of Agencies and airlines were unattended immediately, the sector may witness an implosion.


“The aviation industry in Nigeria is plagued by the equivalent of hemochromatosis arising from mounting unattended labour issues. This has compelled us to raise this alarm about an impending implosion and looming crisis in the aviation industry.


“It should be clear to any discerning industry watcher that all is not well at the nation’s sky gateways all over the Federation. From melancholy, hopelessness, to non-ennobling pursuits by supposed visionaries, the aviation industry is reeking of the stench of odious acclaim.


“Therefore we use this opportunity to speak truth to power and demand of government and employers in the industry to come to terms with the simmering industrial relations atmosphere, created largely by absence of genuine engagement, and take quick steps towards some form of amelioration. This is of extreme importance. It is urgent. We, in fact, consider the situation as an emergency”, they said.


While enumerating issues such as Conditions of Service for NAMA, FAAN, NCAA, NIMET; Minimum, wage; Relocation of headquarters, Intervention fund, Airports concession among others, they said: “Many aviation concerns have chosen the path of dishonour by hiding behind the pandemic to do havoc to their employees. While we very much recognize the adverse impact of COVID-19 on aviation businesses, the law and even decency dictate that all parties to the work environment need to put their heads together to chart a common path through the crisis; a path that fairly shares the losses among the component parts of the work environment.


“Our unions successfully engaged many organisations in this respect. But, many others chose the discredited path of unilateralism and by so doing have done grave injustice and plain wickedness to their employees.


“On this wagon are Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Turkish Airlines, Air Peace, Dana Air, Azman Air, Caverton Helicopters, and many others. In the Coming days, these corporate entities will have to contend with the wrath of aviation workers unless they ameliorate their various situations soon enough”.


On Airports concession, the union bemoaned the fact that Aviation Minister, Hadi Sirika was going ahead with the model chosen, adding that they will not watch such plan coming to fruition.

“Our Unions are in vehement opposition to the selective concession of four international airports through a process of apparent compromised integrity. We have voiced our concerns loudly enough for all to hear, and we have offered credible alternative approaches. But the Minister is going on with the exercise in utter disregard to the position of our Unions. We shall not sit idly by and let another PHCN-styled deceit and malfeasance foisted on us all once again.


“In the above regard, we use this medium to express our profound appreciation for the intervention by the Nigeria Labour Congress on these issues. Importantly, we equally serve notice hereby that our unions will give full effect to the two weeks ultimatum given by the NLC to the various entities to comply with labour laws or face the consequences of their actions.


This press conference is imperative, therefore, because of the strong need to alert the travelling public and airport users that airport operations might become seriously constrained as a result of actions we are being compelled to take in defence of our hapless members who are being mercilessly and recklessly abused to no end”.



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