The President of the United Labour Congress,ULC, Comrade Joe Ajaero says the proposed concession of the 5 major airports by the Federal government will result in 90 percent of job losses in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria,FAAN.
He gave this percentage while speaking at a rally organized by the leadership of the United Labour Congress, ULC and members of Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) to express their displeasure with the process and proposed concession plan of Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt and Kano airports.
Comrade Ajaero told workers of FAAN who turned out in their numbers to hear the outcome of the meeting with the Minister of Labour, Mr. Chris Ngige not to be deceived, that the concession would not be in their Favour but would bring untold hardships, adding the workers of the agency should brace up for the challenges and problems that were bound to follow.
“I came to solidarize with all of you on this challenge again. This is another challenge on the working people of Nigeria. A challenge of concessioning, the challenge of privatization, the challenge of management buy-back or POP, ROT or whatever name as may be proposed by the world Bank and IMF. If you have 500 workers nor; after concession only 50 people will remain here. Even those 50 people will be casual appointments”.
He said the government was bent on enforcing the concession plan because the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have asked them to do so.
“For somebody to ask you to go when you have not completed your service is bad. We fought for 50 % salary review before promotion. Concession cannot add anything to the workers, economy of Nigeria. It will only lead to job loss”
The ULC president warned the members of ANAP that they should not relent in their fight against the proposed airport concession by the government, emphasizing that previous concession arrangements carried out in the power sector, Nigeria Railway Corporation and Nitel were unsuccessful.
He added “There should be transparency in the process. They told us lies when they wanted to privatize NEPA; the same with NRC and also the power sector. Those pushing for concession are government people; they will use stolen money to buy up the corporations”.
Ajaero said “Private sector is not Father Christmas. He is coming to make profit. Nitel was making money before privatization but government destroyed Nitel to bring up MTN and others that are swindling us now. They are telling us Nitel is not making profit”. Don’t be deceived with the name they call concession because the aim is the same thing which is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer”.
“Aladja Steel Company concession has never worked anywhere, including the power sector which we fought against for 10 years. The buyers are always the sellers. If you find out the buyers are not the sellers, call me bastard. For example, if the concessionairs are not the sellers, why are they choosing the viable airports such as Lagos, Port Harcourt Abuja and Kano which are the most viable ones”.
Comrade Ajaero urged the workers to learn a lesson from previous concessions and start to plan now to negotiate their conditions of service before the concession would take place.
He said they should not rely on their pensions since pensioners in the country were suffering due to backlog of unpaid pension arrears, citing the workers of the liquidated Nigeria Airways Limited who were yet to get their severance benefits after many years of promises by Government.