…..group also protest sack of members
…..Bristow management blames economic challenges
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has shut down Bristow Helicopters nationwide over plans to disengage its Nigerian pilots and engineers without any compliance to laws governing the expatriate quota and the local content act.
During a peaceful protest by NAAPE members at the headquarters of Bristow in Lagos airport, it’s President, Mr. Isaac Balami, said the shutdown is as a result of the Bristow management declaring 13 Nigerian engineers and 10 Nigerian pilots redundant adding that the company’s expatriate quota is grossly in contravention of the country’s laws.
Mr. Balami alleged that while negotiations were ongoing the airline management was backdating the redundancy of affected staff.
He said the body has succeeded in shutting down Bristow’s operations nationwide with particular interest in the Port Harcourt, Lagos, Pan-African and Bats operations.
The NAAPE president vowed that the action would be sustained as they were in the forefront of the battle to establish pay parity between Nigerian workers and their expatriate counterparts who hitherto were earning far more.
To restore law and order to the area, it was learnt that the Area commander of the Nigeria Police has called for a meeting between the airline management and the union to see how the industrial unrest can be resolved.
Bristow Management reaction to the protest
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has called on its members within Bristow to embark on an industrial action at Lagos, Port Harcourt and Eket. The action relates to a dispute between Bristow and NAAPE about the release of national pilots and engineers previously employed by Bristow. This matter is currently the subject of a mediation led by the Federal Ministry of Labour between NAAPE and Bristow. In disregard of the ongoing mediation process, NAAPE has decided to commence this action.
This action is coming at a time when the global oil and gas industry is facing severe challenges and the Nigerian economy is undergoing serious disruptions with a number of clients reducing aviation logistics support services in the country.
As a result of our clients’ reduced operations and demand for aviation services, Bristow has reduced the number of its workforce. It has reduced the number of its expatriate pilots and engineers in Nigeria. We have also reached an amicable agreement with the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) representing our Junior and Senior staff. Over the downturn in the industry (12-18months), Bristow has released 118 expatriates (pilots and engineers) and 21 Nigerian nationals (pilots and engineers).
Bristow has held several meetings with NAAPE and the Ministry of Labour to reach an agreement on the subject matter of the mediation, and proposals have been put to NAAPE for their consideration. Our focus remains on providing a safe and efficient service in Nigeria and we are committed to continuing open discussions with all stakeholders to reach an agreement through productive dialogue and feedback.