• No plane might be allowed to fly, aviation employees vow

Chaos could get away throughout airports within the nation as aviation unions vowed on Sunday to start a two-day warning strike on Monday.

The event may depart many air passengers stranded in Lagos, Abuja and different airports within the nation.

Home and worldwide airways are more likely to be compelled to cancel their flights as aviation employees down instruments in protest towards what they are saying is the federal government’s failure to deal with their issues relating to Nationwide Minimal Wage Consequential Adjustment and dealing circumstances.

Union leaders stated they have been left with no alternative however to take a drastic motion to drive the Federal Authorities to implement earlier agreements reached on minimal wage and employees normal welfare.

Final week, aviation employees issued a two-day warning strike discover signed by the secretaries normal of 5 unions stating that if the warning strike, scheduled to start on April 17 failed, an indefinite strike can be embarked upon.

The unions threatened to withdraw their companies over the refusal of the Federal Authorities to launch the reviewed situation of service negotiated over seven years in the past.

Different grievances embody the non-implementation of the Nationwide Minimal Wage consequential changes and arrears for employees of the Nigeria Meteorological Company since 2019.

Aviation unions comprise the Air Transport Providers Senior Workers Affiliation of Nigeria, Nationwide Affiliation of Plane Pilots and Engineers, Affiliation of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, Amalgamated Union of Public Companies, Civil Service Technical and Leisure Providers Staff.

On Sunday, the union leaders advised The PUNCH that barring any last-minute change, they’d embark on the strike starting from Monday (as we speak).

The unions additionally, in a letter to the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority the place the company had referred to as for a gathering to look into the grievances of the union, said that whereas they respect the Director-Basic of the NCAA, they’d not be capable to honour the invitation as they’d different conferences slated for a similar day.

The letter learn partly, “Our unions sincerely respect the real concern of the DGCA in direction of upholding and sustaining of commercial peace and concord within the aviation trade, however we remorse to be unavoidably constrained to make the journey to Abuja for the scheduled 1.00 pm assembly as we speak (Sunday).

 “That is primarily attributable to the truth that our unions have slated a sequence of conferences with our constructions for as we speak in Lagos, first of which comes up at 1.00 pm instantly after church companies, to debate the problems at hand.

“Sir, we’re nonetheless out there to fulfill with the DGCA and his crew as we speak in Lagos after our assembly. As soon as once more, we’re appreciative of our DGCA’s honest intervention.”

Additionally, unions within the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria and the Nigeria Airspace Administration Company are agitated over plans by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to demolish their places of work to pave the way in which for an aerotropolis undertaking.

This transfer to demolish aviation businesses got here barely three months to the top of the Buhari administration and virtually a 12 months after Sirika demolished the info evaluation laboratory of the Accident Investigation Bureau, now Nationwide Security Investigation Bureau, to make manner for an Apron growth.

The constructing is estimated to be over N5bn.

The unions additionally raised the alarm over what it described as a compelled relocation of AIB, NCAA, FAAN and NAMA workers to Abuja, claiming that almost all of the employees had no places of work and have been squatting in FCT whereas their absolutely practical places of work in Lagos stay unused.

Earlier, the unions, on February 7, 2023, issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Authorities on the identical situation.

Talking with the PUNCH on Sunday in Abuja, the Secretary-Basic, NUATE, Ocheme Abah, stated the strike can be held in all airports throughout the nation.

He said that the strike would go forward until their irreducible minimal calls for have been met.

The calls for in query embody the discharge of all excellent situation of service funds with the Nationwide Salaries, Revenue and Wages Fee and the Workplace of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation and arrears paid.

Moreover, the Nigerian Meteorological Company’s Consequential Adjustment should be carried out, and the demolition train halted.

Abah stated, “The strike will go forward and all airports might be inoperable till all excellent CoS with NSIWC and OHCSF are launched, and NiMet Consequential Adjustment is carried out. Additionally, the demolition train should be halted. These are our irreducible minimal calls for and arrears should be paid.”

Labour, aviation ministries react

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Labour, Olajide Oshundun, famous that discussions are ongoing between the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Ministry of Aviation with the aviation unions to avert the 2 days supposed strike.

 Oshundun stated, “The aviation union wrote to the Ministry of Labour and Employment to inform the ministry of the supposed strike (21 days’ discover). After the expiration of the 21 days, they gave one other seven days.

“When the ministry bought this letter, instantly, the ministry contacted the Ministry of Aviation to tell them that the aviation labour union is threatening to go on strike, and the content material of the letter was given to the Ministry of Aviation.

“On receiving the letter from the Ministry of Labour and Employment, the Ministry of Aviation took it up and so they bought in contact with the aviation labour union and so they premised their supposed strike on two main calls for; improved situation of service and improve in wage.”

He famous that the Ministry of Aviation had contacted all authorities businesses chargeable for assembly the union’s calls for.

He added, “The management of Labour and Employment and Aviation are in talks with the management of the aviation employees union.

“Authorities made the employees to understand that the aviation sector has not recovered from the strike and aviation gas shortage. Due to this fact, the strike will not be essential and it’s counterproductive for them to embark on one other strike.

“Discussions are ongoing. The Ministry of Labour and Employment and Aviation are speaking to the labour union and the Aviation Ministry has additionally contacted the presidential committee on wage improve to make sure that the demand of Aviation employees are meant.”

Nonetheless, the Particular Assistant to the Minister of Aviation, James Odaudu, referred to as on the unions to drop their risk and interact in dialogue with the ministry and the CEOs of the aviation businesses involved.

Talking on behalf of the minister, the Particular Assistant famous that the ministry had been proactive in addressing the issues of the unions on points such because the situation of service and different welfare issues, including that the minister has additionally ensured that these points are handled decisively, in a bid to create a greater working surroundings for all stakeholders within the aviation trade.

Odaudu additional said that the resort to strike motion shouldn’t be a everlasting function of the aviation trade.

As a substitute, the unions ought to at all times endeavour to interact with the administration extra, and search to resolve points by way of dialogue and constructive engagement.

He stated, “The ministry and the CEOs of the businesses involved have been reaching out to the unions to make them perceive that the risk is pointless.

“The minister has, all through the tenure of this administration, taken up the difficulty of CoS and different welfare issues, and has handled them decisively.

“The recourse to strikes shouldn’t be a everlasting function of the aviation trade. The Unions ought to at all times endeavour to interact with the administration extra,” he stated.

Consultants react

In the meantime, aviation specialists have warned aggrieved unions to avoid airports and their environs within the struggle for his or her rights, stressing that their actions would possibly result in flight delays and cancellations.

These actions, they famous, would decelerate enterprise actions and trigger losses for enterprise house owners and different gamers within the worth chain.

The Chief Govt Officer, Centurion Safety Restricted, Capt. John Ojikutu (retd), talking in a phone interview on Sunday, stated, “Union employees shouldn’t come to the airport to air their grievances. They need to reasonably go to the ministry in cost or regulatory our bodies to disrupt actions.

“You’ll be able to’t enter the airport to disrupt different companies, particularly personal operators, since it’s the authorities they’ve a difficulty with. Allow them to go to FAAN, NAMA headquarters.

“Their actions could have an effect on home and worldwide airways the place this nation will get 80 per cent of its earnings. The unions should not be allowed to go to the airport to disrupt different companies.”

On his half, the Assistant Secretary-Basic, Aviation RoundTable, Olumide Ohunayo, suggested the unions to focus on areas that might not have an effect on flight, stressing nonetheless that it’d have an effect on flight operations in Abuja, Lagos and different vital routes.

He stated, “The unions are free to go on their warning strikes, however of late, we have now complained about their actions that disrupt different actions of airport customers and passengers. So, they need to take their actions to areas that might not impede journey so passengers don’t need to undergo from the coverage of the federal government.

“The demolition and different issues deliberate by the minister towards the tail finish of his tenure are actually troubling, and I don’t suppose the strike motion will work. The unions have spoken belatedly as a result of these atrocities have been occurring for the previous 4 years, and why wait until the final hour to make cries about it?

“If it isn’t correctly deliberate, there might be flight disruptions, and it will have an effect on operations in Lagos and Abuja and different routes bringing losses to the airways and different gamers within the worth chain.”