Poor remuneration, lack of salaries, signing of bond, age limit….
Cabin Crew in the aviation industry seem to have taken the bull by its horns to sound it loud and clear that the challenges they face on the job was taking a toll on their profession.
At the gathering of cabin executives at the just concluded Cabin Crew Fair in Lagos, convened by Mamaj Aviation Consult Limited, the cabin attendants say if they were determined to reposition this all important profession to an enviable one, they would no longer shy away from saying it the way it is.
They did not mince words when listing their numerous challenges laying it bare, no holds barred.
Speaking on the theme of the Fair, “The Cabin Crew Profession, Our Challenges”, the Cabin Executive Manager, Aerocontractors, Kudirat Bello said the happiness and glamour associated with the profession is lost because of the challenges they face on the job.
According to her, with the closure of many airlines many of the crew has been thrown out of jobs, adding that because of this the existing ones are capitalizing on the high unemployment rate of the cabin crew to employ them and pay them peanuts.
“Considering the fact that, so many airlines have folded up recently
leaving so many crew members jobless. Gone at the days when you will be so happy, thinking about the glamour, the job of being a flight
attendant, now you just want to secure a job because you don’t want to be like your fellow crew member that has been left out of the job you want to retain whatever you have and regardless of the fact that the pay is not that interesting but at least you are earning a living”.
She added, “Another thing out of the challenges is remuneration, even those that are in the system right now they face the challenge of salaries not
being paid in some airlines that are not doing so well and other airlines are facing the threat of being shut down like aero, arik and so on due to the economy in the country. Because of this, most of the ones that are working, take advantage of this and start engaging in all things, shaded activities that give bad name to the profession”.
She noted that some of the airlines were even on the verge of folding up because of the ups and downs in the industry due to the bad economic situation in the country.
“The Aviation Industry today has been going through ups and downs, the cabin crew profession is not left out among the results of the ups and downs in the aviation industry and this has led the cabin crew operating today to be very, very uncertain about their job, it leaves a lot of certainty in their minds”.
Other challenges Bello highlighted include observing bonds which required that the females do not get pregnant within certain years while working.
According to her, even when the bond elapses, these ones often find it difficult to get pregnant due to certain factors like flying different aircraft with different pressurization among others.
“Aside that even female cabin crew faces the challenges of having to
observe bond when they are employed. In some airlines even this bon goes up to like three years before they can be allowed to conceive and
when they are even free to conceive they have problem of conceiving,
they have problem of age factor and other threats of being secluded in
that small cubicle in the cabin pressurization and co of series of
kind aircraft that can affect”.
“Not only that, some face the threats of losing their pregnancy even if
at the end of the day they are able to conceive because of the pressurization in the cabin and one thing is for you be pregnant and
fly from point A to point B and step down another thing is for you to do it on a daily basis for a leaving, so that is its own side effects”.
On the role of the NCAA in assisting to minimize these challenges, the cabin executive manager said NCAA to an extent was assisting with the employment of cabin crew officers as cabin safety inspectors but much more was required on their part.
“Let me tell you another challenge, it is what cabin crew have to do
after going out of the system as a cabin crew, there is nothing. If not for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, and some agencies in aviation industry that try to absorb crew members and give them jobs for them to continue to earn a living but that is one of the role they play”.
“There are some airlines that have not paid crew for years and they
still go because they still want to retain that job. We have some airlines that have not paid for months but the crew want to remain in the system because they know that the moment they step out some people will step in regardless of the challenges in the system, please, the NCAA have a big role to play in the system by regulating all these by cautioning all the airliners”, she added.
She also called for the regulation of salaries and an urgent intervention in the matter of signing a bond.
Another role they can play is to help with this bonding thing. Another
thing they can do is to help to regulate salaries in the airlines for
cabin crew members. For those that are not ready to pay cabin crew then let them give them their reward for the sweat they have shared all through the month, they deserve something”.
Convener of the Cabin Crew Fair, Joy Ogbebo listed other challenges to include misconception about the profession, lack of professional body, age limitation, lack of jobs and lack of salary payment.
“Lack of defined career path, lack of insurance for work related injuries and many other”.
According to her, “Guidance/mentorship, poor remuneration, lack of exit plan, slowed career progression, lack of legislation protecting practitioners” was also major contributory factors.
Ogbebo emphasized that this year’s event was not just to highlights their challenges but also to proffer realistic solutions, adding that such fair would afford heads of agencies,airline operators and other stakeholders to listen and get first hand information from the professionals areas where they could assist in solving their problems.
She appealed to all stakeholders to support them in their quest to contribute their own quota to building a better aviation industry.