Workers stage protest against concession plan
Workers in the aviation sector on Wednesday protested against the planned concession of four of the major airports in the country, describing the government’s motive as “unconvincing”.
The protest march that simultaneously held at most of the airports nationwide again appealed to the Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to suspend the plan.
Sirika in the last couple of weeks had been trying to sell the idea of airport concession to stakeholders, as the best alternative to revamp the airports and make them profitable. The planned concession has the four major airports in Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano in the first phase and the rest in the second phase.
The workers, however, insisted that the Federal Government was yet to convince stakeholders on the need for its action to concession them.
With solidarity songs on their lips, the workers displayed placards with inscriptions like: “Airport concession is a threat to national security”; “FAAN workers say no to concession of airports” among others.
National Chairman of Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE), Mohammed Tukur, said his members were around to show solidarity to National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) in their quest to halt the planned airports concession.
A member ATSSSAN, Sarah Rindas, said they are opposed to concession because government was yet to explain the modalities for the exercise.
Rindas stated that workers’ collective resources and life are tied to the airports, especially the four viable ones slated for concession.
Her words: “What happened to our salaries and pension when they are sold? Enough is enough. We say no to concession. Our collective resources and life are tied to the airports. What happens to our future?” she queried.
Rindas admitted massive graft and rot in the sector, but stated that was not enough to consider selling them under any guise despite humongous interference from the Ministry, lawmakers and others.
“Despite all the interference, we are still breaking even. Over the years, we have had eight Ministers without consistency. It is not FAAN workers that are responsible for the rot in aviation. Our own model of managing airports is different from what is obtained in other countries. These four are the major cash-cow for the 21 airports,” she said.