… wrong timing, don’t cripple the economy… Passengers
By Lawani Mikairu
Aviation worker’s unions, namely, the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE , Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, ANAP, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, are to commence a two-day warning strike today ( Monday ) over a ” workers’ negotiated conditions of service and other sundry issues that have been neglected for nine (9) years.”
Speaking on the planned strike, the General Secretary of NUATE, Ocheme Aba said all operations at the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, Nigerian Meteorological Agency, NiMet, as well as the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, would be grounded along with that of the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, NCAT.
In a notice to the staff of these agencies signed jointly by General Secretary, NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba, Secretary-General, ANAP, Comrade Abdul Rasaq Saidu and General Secretary AUPCTRE, Comrade Sikiru Waheed read that despite best efforts, the issues concerning Conditions of Service of NAMA, NCAA, NiMeT, and NCAT as negotiated with Agencies for upwards of seven years remain with the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC), and the Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment and remain unimplemented since 2019.
The statement read: “Consequently, our Unions have no alternative than to embark on an industrial action to press home our demand for justice and equity, especially considering the long-suffering, patience and forbearance on the part of our members which has now reached yield point.”
“Accordingly, all workers in NAMA, NCAA, NiMeT and NCAT are hereby directed to embark on a 2-day warning strike on the 9th and 10th of May, 2022. Should the warning go unheeded, an indefinite strike shall be called soon after.”
Aba, NUATE General Secretary who gave further details said,” The patience of the workers in the aviation agencies have since run out and we have passed yield point, we have not yielded and the system has not broken down and that remains a miracle but our unions have run out of excuses for our members as to why workers are denied these benefits they have earned, some for up to nine(9) years”.
“Our demand is simple, we have negotiated conditions of service since 2013 and up till now, they have not been released. We have the 2019 National Minimum Act that is yet to impact on nation workers “
“Recently, the Wages Commission approved 10% across board increment as a Consequential Adjustment to agencies it remains unimplemented. “
“We have two problems with that flat 10% approval. A percentage increase is grossly inevitable, if a person earns N1m, 10% of that is N100,000 and if someone earns N70,000 10% is N 7000, this is grossly inequitable. We have insisted there has to be a graduated percentage increase as a flat increase cannot work for us,” he explained.
Meanwhile, passengers who will be directly affected by the union’s strike action have called on the unions to shelve their action since the domestic airlines are also threatening to suspend flight operations.
A passenger, Mr John Odu today Vanguard that the unions should not join airlines to cripple the economy.
” How can the Aviation unions be talking about strike now when the government is pleading with airlines not to suspend flight operations? Government should be given time to solve these aviation problems one after the other.”
” Aviation should not kill the economy. Unions know the strategic importance of aviation in the economy. Businesses and critical meetings will be put on hold when there are no flights”.
Another passenger who was visibly angry with the union’s decision and refused to disclose his name told Vanguard that ” this is the wrong time to disrupt flight operations. The economy is trying to recover and prevent free movement of goods and services at this critical time is most unpatriotic”.
” Can these agencies afford to meet all these demands the workers are asking for “, he asked Vanguard.