…..says airlines are employing foreign pilots with fat salaries, violates expatriates quota
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots ad Engineers, NAAPE, has given two weeks ultimatum for the recall of sacked pilots and engineers by Airpeace and Bristow helicopters.
The body says failure to heed their ultimatum would lead to the withdrawal of their services across airlines.
Speaking at a news briefing in Lagos, President of NAAPE, Engr. Abednego Galadima said the Association had been pushed to the wall with the unilateral decisions taken by Airpeace and Bristow helicopters to sack pilots under the pretense of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said some of the airline operators have been involved in forceful and unilateral pay cuts and disparity in salaries and wages without recourse to the pilots and engineers, adding that Airpeace, Azman, Caverton Bristow helicopters have become rampant in this regard.
“Not done with the hijack of the salaries of our members, pilots and engineers are subjected under duress to sign new terms if Conditions of employment or be fired.”
Galadinma said the scheme was to ultimately casualize pilots and engineers, added that thus was condemnable and amounts to violent extortion and the deployment of the instrument of intimidation and harassment of workers in the work place.
He said despite the collaboration with their union and other unions in written and oral submissions to the airlines for a roundtable to resolve all labour matters, the airlines have refused to see reasons.
The NAAPE President stressed that while expatriates in the employ of Caverton and Bristow helicopters were paid in US dollars, their Nigerian counterparts were treated contemptuously with inferior pay when they do the same job and having the same qualifications.
“Why would these operators pay foreign workers at exchange rates that are far more favorable than Nigerians who are doing the same work and with the same certifications and experience? This is not only economic sabotage but also demeans our nation and all patriotic Nigerians should join in condemning it unreservedly.”
Galadinma stressed that some of the operators were hell bent on displacing their Nigerian staff in favor of foreigners, alleging that after the recent sack of 69 pilots by Airpeace, the airline employed foreign pilots with more pay.
“A company that chose to steal our jobs, steal our skills and then throw us into the unemployment market does our nation no good and should be treated with caution.”
“Acts that flagrantly disregards our laws and traditions undermine workplace relations and anything that undermine workplace relations injects stress in pilots and engineers endangering safety of lives and property of the flying public.”
Galadinma stressed that this must be nipped in the bud before it becomes a greater threat to the survival of the industry, adding such acts was capable of unsettling the minds of pilots and engineers and these can lead to human errors in operations.
He therefore demanded that Bristow helicopters and Airpeace recall all sacked pilots until all labour issues were resolved or be grounded by NCAA because of attendant safety concerns created by their actions.
They also called on the NCAA to as a matter of urgency prevail on all airline operators to stop forthwith their unilateral and reckless sacking of pilots and engineers under the pretense of Covid-19 pandemic just like a sister regulator the Central Bank of Nigeria did in the banking sector.
The body also urged the Federal government of Nigeria to speedily release the promised relief package for the airlines and other government agencies to further save jobs and businesses.
“We want to strongly advise that airline operators that insist on laying off workers should not benefit from the largesse.”
“As a result of the known consequences if these illegal actions and our commitment to patriotic fervor, we shall be forced to withdraw our guarantee if industrial peace within the industry if this call is not heeded within two weeks. Our union will be left with no option bit yo withdraw the services of pilots and Aircraft maintenance engineers across all the airlines.”