CEM REPORT | The coalition of aviation workers have allegedly blamed inexperienced political appointees for the inefficiency of the sector.
The coalition of unions made up of members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), lamented poor condition of service (CoS) in the sector, calling out the ministry’s reluctance to create a new guideline and upward adjustment of earnings in the last nine years.
The coalition, commemorating May Day in Lagos, said major decisions were currently being deliberated to put an end to the waiting game played by the ministry of aviation and “slavery” of air transport workers.
Abdulrasaq Saidu, General Secretary of ANAP, noted that aviation workers are agitated and frustrated as a result of the neglect, stating they were not happy working under the helpless conditions.
He further blamed the absence of a governing board of agencies as a major deterrent to development which has affected workers’ conditions of service for about nine years.
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Saidu further said, all unions had exhausted channels to sustain industrial harmony but the aviation ministry still remained a clog in the wheel of progress especially on workers welfare.
“the aviation ministry remained a clog in the wheel of progress by neglecting workers’ welfare and hijacking the workers’ functions concerning the condition of service”.
National President of NUATE, Ben Nnabue, said the issue of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment and CoS for aviation workers has continued for too long and will be put to rest within the week.
“But we stand firmly by the decision of workers not to accept continuing shifting of the goal post by government agencies on these issues. Therefore, this week has been set out for major decisions and subsequent decisive actions that will bring these issues to a foreclosure.
He further said action will be taken against airlines that refuse their workers free union association.
“Similarly, big local airlines continue to defy the law on free association and union membership, and the promise by the Minister of Labour for his intervention has not been kept.
“Therefore, we are left with our own devices to see to it that all aviation workers, particularly in Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, etc are fully freed from slave labour this year,”
On the issue of airport concession, Nnabue said:
“We are unclear as to the government’s actual response to the demands of aviation unions on labour issues and many lapses in the concession programme. In the coming weeks, important decisions will be made to chart a clear path to ameliorating already stated demands of workers.
“We call on the Minister of Aviation to urgently review his Aviation Road Map and pending welfare issues. We hold the view that the projects under the Road Map require significant adjustments to harmonise them with current realities in the world of aviation and our national interest,” he said.
The various unions had consistently drawn attention to the government’s failure to release the negotiated Conditions of Service of the six aviation agencies since 2013 and non-implementation of Minimum Wage and Consequential Adjustment since 2019.
The unions had earlier in February 2022, notified airlines and the general public of total withdrawal of air travel services , in protest against poor welfare and non-release of the agreed Condition of Service (CoS) but suspended the industrial action was suspended following interventions.
The coalition further commended workers for their resilience and struggle toward building a greater workforce and urged them not to relent.