…threatens industrial action over conditions of service
Just like stakeholders few weeks lamented the lack of Board of Directors (BoDs) to man the affairs of the aviation agencies, the President of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Ben Nnabue has again decried that the affairs of the entire Industry is under the control of a one man.
Nnabue who made this complaint in its ‘Workers Day’ Address to members of the Association, described the scenario as a ‘one-man-show,’ while stressing that it is extremely dangerous, preposterous and truly objectionable.
He regretted that every effort to correct the anomaly through various protestations fell on deaf ears, noting that for Aviation stakeholders to tolerate this circumstance for all of six years is quite incomprehensible.
His words: “We have persistently pointed out the folly of one-man-show in the governance of the Sector.
“As we all know, there have been no governing boards for all the agencies in Aviation, and the CEOs being direct employees of the Minister of Aviation, and the Minister being the Chairman of all the so called Interim Boards, the affairs of the entire Aviation Industry has been contrived to be totally in the hands of one man.
“This is extremely dangerous, preposterous and truly objectionable. All our protestations on the subject over the past years have fallen on deaf ears.
“That stakeholders in the Industry have tolerated this circumstance for all of six years is quite honestly incomprehensible.”
Nnabue further lamented that all flagship programmes of this federal administration, have all suffered paralysis, despite massive support from all stakeholders and informed Nigerians.
He pointed out that while the proposed national carrier project failed woefully, the aircraft leasing company, national aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and aerotropolis development were yet to see the light of the day.
He said: “Whereas a State government, Akwa Ibom, has since successfully launched its own airline without any fanfare, which is fast becoming the Industry leader, our Country has woefully failed in its attempt to birth a national carrier after over ten years of labour and colossal financial waste.
“The proposed aircraft leasing company, national aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and aerotropolis development, all flagship programmes of this federal administration, have all suffered paralysis, despite massive support from all stakeholders and informed Nigerians.
“They all followed the same path; bitten by the bug of hidden agenda, suffered the ailment of ill-motive to death, presently in the coffins of infidelity to the national cause, and waiting to be buried in the grave of ‘onemanism.’
“I enjoin all NUATE members to join hands in prayer for a better tomorrow for our dear Nation’s Aviation Industry.”
According to the NUATE President, the Union maintains an irreversible opposition to the unjustifiable concession programme of selective airports in the Nation, based on unassailable evidence of unwholesomeness.
He therefore, called on the National Assembly, the Federal Executive Council and the Presidency to work together to put a halt to the travesty called airports concession and “save our dear Nation from further draining of the national treasury.”
Continuing, Nnabue also pointed out the frustration of Aviation agencies workers over the unjust treatment meted to them by the Salaries and Wages Commission and the Head of Service.
“We have become tired of begging for our rights in respect of the stated issues of Conditions of Service and minimum wage which has been denied Aviation workers for two years running. And we have lost our patience on the matter.
“Accordingly, all our branches in the agencies concerned should follow the example of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and convene their respective JAC meetings for the purpose of mobilising for industrial action, as several ultimatums on the matter have gone by without any result whatsoever. Actions will be ordered as from 17th of May, 2021.”
He also used the occasion of the Workers Day to call on the government to take another look at the working condition of workers in the Industry regretting that the federal government intervention fund for the Aviation Sector was shared among Aviation companies with no impact on the workers.
He said: “It is truly regrettable that the federal government intervention fund for the Aviation Sector was shared among aviation companies with no impact on Aviation workers
“Till date, large numbers of aviation workers remain on furlough leave, many of them with no pay, while many others receive as low as 20 per cent of their salaries.
“This is very disheartening. It is our plea that the government takes another look at this unfortunate situation with a view to compelling urgent remedial actions on the part of the companies.
“We find no justification whatsoever for the continuation of any kind of forced leave on the basis of the pandemic as business in the local aviation scene has now surpassed pre-COVID levels.
“Those companies that have kept their workers away from work without pay while enjoying the current boom in air travel are guilty of plain wickedness and slave labour for utilising fewer workers for higher volumes of work.
“We call on the regulatory authorities to urgently bring pressure to bear on these unbearable conditions to achieve some resolution, as we call on the managements of the culprit organisations to avail themselves of some conscience so as to revert to normal personnel deployment. We plead.”
He added: “It is of vital importance to draw the attention of Government to the nexus between the large scale redundancies, leave without pay, salary cuts, etc and aviation security. This is against the background of current national insecurity.
“Therefore, it is our considered view that government must tailor its financial intervention in the sector to mitigate these prevalent unsavory indices a vital point that ought to have been given prime consideration in the last intervention, but was inexplicably overrun by the urge to share. This, of course, speaks to the need for further interventions. We plead.”
Ben Nnabue, NUATE President