Workers ground airline operations in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Eket
Workers in the aviation sector yesterday staged a protest march that grounded operations of Bristow Helicopters in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Eket.
The employees, under the aegis of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), barricaded offices of the airline in the three cities in protest of welfare and alleged plan to sack more workers.
In a swift reaction, the management blamed the development on the poor run of business in the oil and gas sector.
Recall that the company, which services the oil and gas industry, has had a dip in business since the global oil market crash. Following the downturn, Bristow, in the last 12 months, released 118 expatriate pilots and engineers as well as 21 Nigerian pilots and engineers from its payroll.
NAAPE said the shutdown of the helicopter company was due to management’s alleged redundancy declaration of another set of 13 Nigerian engineers and 10 pilots.
The union claimed that the workers were victimised because of their crusade for pay parity with expatriate employees.
Its national president, Balami Isaac, told reporters that no operation would be carried out for the time being.
In a statement, the management said the matter was before the Federal Ministry of Labour for mediation.
“In disregard of the ongoing mediation process, NAAPE has decided to commence this action. This action is coming at a time when the global oil and gas industry is facing severe challenges and the Nigerian economy is undergoing serious disruptions with a number of clients reducing aviation logistics support services in the country,” it read in part.