By Lawani Mikairu
The House of Representatives Committee Chairman on Aviation, Hon. Nnolim Nnaji yesterday appealed to airlines and private organizations within the aviation sector to pay staff their wages in this period of uncertainties occasioned by COVID19 pandemic.
Nnaji appeal is coming on the heels of the memo issued to its staff by Max Air airline to the effect that it would not pay them salaries for the period of the two weeks lockdown directive by the Federal Government.
He said that “the memo which has now gone viral further stressed that the state of no pay would extend if the situation persisted and my major worry is that other organizations may do same if care is not taken.”
Hon. Nnaji, however, appealed to the management of the airline to reconsider this hard-line posture by retracing its action in this regard and equally urged other organizations in the sector to see this trying period as a time of sacrifice and show extreme compassion to their staff.
“Am aware that elsewhere, governments are providing palliatives for employers of labour to cushion the impact of this pandemic but because of our peculiar circumstances the Federal Government may not immediately offer such at the moment”.
He also said he was optimistic that some form of relief would definitely come at the end of the day to assist the airlines.
He further urged the Hon Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sariki to step in and hold talks with the various stakeholders in the industry to avoid ripple effects of Max Air airline action.
The Committee Chairman also used the opportunity to call for understanding among the people and leaders of the South East Region over the shift in date of the reopening of the Akanu Ibiam International Airport (AIIA) Enugu which was earlier planned to be opened before the Easter celebration.
He lamented that the development was caused by the COVID19 pandemic which has forced the workers of both the contractor and consultants handling the project out of sight.
The aviation committee chairman however assured that as soon as the prevailing pandemic died down works would resume ” at an accelerated speed and new date of commissioning of the airport would be unveiled”.