To ensure a cordial working relationship between the employer and employee in the industry, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) is organizing a one-symposium in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom state capital to address labour matters as its concern its members.
It would be recalled that last year, many pilots and engineers were laid off by some airline operators due to the lockdown and others because of protest over the alleged disparity in the remuneration of local and expatriate pilots and engineers.
In a statement to announce the event, President NAAPE, Engr. Abednego Galadima says, some airlines have recalled some of their sacked members and expressed optimism that some of its members who were yet to be recalled by their employers would be reintegrated into the system, stressing that NAAPE was already discussing with their employers.
He added: “Some of the airlines have been able to recall some of the staff who were at home. As we talk now, most of them have moved back to the pre-Covid-19 salaries for our member. In December, most of the companies returned to pre-Covid-19 salaries for pilots and engineers.
“It is a step in the right direction. We believe government can still do more, but with what we are witnessing, the airlines will bounce back better. The capacity is increasing gradually. Things will come to normal very soon.”
On the symposium proper, he says at least 80 major aviation industry stakeholders and professionals in Nigeria would participate physically in the event coming up on the 29th of January, 2021.
He stated that the event would help to bridge the existing gaps between pilots, engineers on one hand and airline operators in the industry with the aim of promoting harmonious relationship between the two.
Engr. Galadima, says the theme: ‘Labour Relations in a Pandemic: Challenges to Employers and Employees,’ would be Chaired by Mr. Allen Onyema, Airpeace boss while Capt. Ado Sanusi, the immediate past Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Aero Contractors and Engr. Sheri Kyari would be some of the discussants.
Also, Capt. Musa Nuhu, the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) is expected to lead other agencies’ heads as special guests.
Capt. Mfon Udom, the Managing Director, Ibom Air and other captains of industry would participate physically at the conference, while various stakeholders would join virtually through the Zoom Network.
He stressed that the reduction in the number of physical participants was due to the Covid-19 pandemic and strict adherence to its protocols.
While, Galadima agreed that the Covid-19 pandemic, which caught the sector unawares, had negatively affected its members, but expressed optimism that the symposium would bring more harmony between employers and employees in the Covid-19 pandemic era.
He explained that NAAPE as the umbrella body of pilots and engineers in the industry was working assiduously with airline operators to ensure the return of some of its members placed on ‘leave without pay’ by their employers due to the pandemic.
The NAAPE lauded the Federal Government for the recent palliative released to business organisations in the industry, but appealed for increased interventions from the government for the sector to make it stronger.
He added: “Employers, employees’ relationship has been very critical in this pandemic. So, NAAPE is providing a platform where employers and employees will discuss how best they can work together in a harmonious relationship in the industry, knowing what the pandemic has caused us particularly in the aviation sector. We believe it’s time for all hands to be on deck so that both employers and employees will emerge stronger after this pandemic.
“We have always intervened and always stood by our members particularly those that were stopped recently due to the pandemic. We make sure that the law is followed and their dues are given to them. Also, we have asked the government to support the industry so that more people will not lose jobs.
“Thank God for the palliative for operators even though, we would have loved it goes straight to the workers. But, we hope that it will improve the airlines a bit. Even though, we know are few people are still at home. We want to see how they can be brought back into the system.”