……say failure to respect labour laws responsible for current crisis in the industry
Aviation unions have blamed the commotion in the industry on employers of labour and the government failure to respect labour laws and relations practices.
To this end, the unions say there was a compelling need to take decisive actions against these alleged unpardonable assaults on the rights and sensibilities of aviation workers throughout Nigeria.
At a news conference in Lagos, Secretaries General of the three aviation unions, National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN and Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, ANAP, listed areas of their grievances against the government to include; non-implementation of the conditions of service in NAMA, NCAA, FAAN and NiMET, Minimum wage, relocation of agencies headquaters, Airport Concession and the promised intervention funds.
Speaking on the intervention fund, the Secretary General, NUATE, Comrade Aba Ocheme said, the industry was still awaiting the Federal Government N500 billion intervention fund to assist businesses cope with the economic devastation occasioned by the pandemic.
” Up till now, aviation is yet to be impacted by these interventions despite the industry being the most negatively impacted by COVID-19. As a result, all the aviation companies remain in dire economic straits.”
He emphasized that more than 80% of the aviation workforce in the private sector who have been laid off for the past four months remain in penury while another chunk of workers have been coping with half or less salary within the period.
Aba also expressed the fear that lies in the uncertainty that beclouds the modalities for application of the intervention funds.
He therefore drew the attention of government to the recommendations of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in partnership with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF), that government aa regards Intervention fund.
Some of the recommendations among others expects government to: “Offer conditional relief and support services to airlines, airport authorities and supply chain companies, including through debt relief, delays to tax and duties, and public ownership of share; agree conditions for these financial and support packages, including on the private repurchase of shares following the recovery of the industry that: Protects the pay, terms, conditions and welfare of all aviation workers;Prohibits share repurchases, shareholder rewards and excessive executive pay;.”
He said, they were apprehensive that should government deviate from this well thought-out and comprehensive modalities, then the intervention might well be, like in the past, a mere bazar, or cash dole out rather than bail out.
“This will do the industry no good. We therefore, ask for both haste and due diligence in dealing with this issue.”
Other issues of concern to the unions against the unions are the practice of non-unionization especially airlines and what it called unilateralism.
According to the unions, airlines in the forefront of this are, Arik Air, Aero Contractors, Turkish Airlines, Air Peace, Dana Air, Azman Air, Caverton Helicopters, and many others.
Warning that, “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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”