The twin big issues of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment and Conditions of Service for the aviation agencies, which are currently raging, has been brought back to the front burner as the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) said it stands firmly by the decision of workers not to accept continuing shifting of the goal post by government agencies on these issues.
The aviation workers’ union, in its 2022 May Day speech by the National President of NUATE, Ben Nnabue, disclosed that this week had been set out for major decisions and subsequent decisive actions that would bring these issues to a close. Apart from the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB), which has since implemented new conditions of service for its workers, all other agencies in the aviation industry have continued to delay the implementation of workers’ rights.
Aviation workers under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) have protested against the poor condition of service of workers of the various aviation agencies, which have been on for seven years.
Also, the Association of Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) have called for an expeditious review of the condition of service of workers of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMET).
The Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation, Civil Service Technical, and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) has called for the implementation of the negotiated conditions of service of all the agencies’ workers under the Ministry of Aviation, which it said had lingered for nine years.
The NUATE president stated that workers are equally unsatisfied with on-going discussions around the big question of airport concession, stressing that the workers are unclear as to government’s actual response to the demands of aviation unions on labour issues and many lapses in the concession programme.
According to the union, in the coming weeks, important decisions would be made to chart a clear path towards ameliorating already stated demands of workers.
His words: “In like manner, we express our frustration at the dilly-dallying attitude of the Bureau of Public Enterprise (BPE) in attending to the negotiated redundancy benefits of ex-staff of SAHCO, a matter pending since 2009. “Let me assure the affected ex-workers that the unions have gone so far and cannot retreat on the matter at this point. We are on the verge of a final solution, failing which we shall take decisive actions towards seeking justice for the victims.”
He called on the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to urgently review his aviation roadmap, hinting that they hold the view that the projects under the roadmap required significant adjustments to harmonise them with current realities in the world of aviation and our national interest. Nnabue also took a veiled swipe at the astronomical hike in airfares by airlines in the country, which put the minimum fares at N50,000.
He noted that against the background of negative travelers’ reaction to recent airfare increases, these multiple adversities had been exceedingly crippling, particularly for airlines.
This, to him, has delayed the exit of the industry from recession as more people have shunned air travel because of the enormous increase in airfares. Air travel is one of the barometers to gauge the health of a nation. Whenever a country is doing well, it will reflect on the number of people that travel by air.
Nigerian aviation is not a stand-alone, it is part of the bigger economy of Nigeria and contributes to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). To this end, it is obvious that aviation is the quickest barometer to check any econom