Air traffic controllers suspend strike, issue NAMA two-week ultimatum
Air Traffic Control Officers (ATCOs), yesterday, issued the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) a two-week ultimatum to meet its demands, just as it suspended the warning strike that began on Tuesday.
The workers, under the aegis of Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association (NATCA), said they backtracked in honour of NAMA’s pledge to immediately address some of the concerns raised on poor facilities at airports nationwide.
ATCOs, on Tuesday, embarked on three-hour ‘flow control’ (delay) measures in protest against the demise of a member, Aniekan Effiong, and eight others that have died “due to stress-related health complications, which seem associated with poor working conditions and inadequate staffing.”
NATCA also made 11 demands on NAMA, bothering on equipment, safety and welfare of ATCOs.
President of NATCA, Abayomi Agoro, yesterday, said NAMA management pledged to immediately implement three crucial demands of NATCA, as a show of goodwill, as others were being worked on for implementation.
“As a sign of reciprocating management’s action, NATCA shall suspend all further action on all forms of reactions as it further engages management on implementation. NATCA has agreed to suspend any further protests or actions for two weeks pending the outcome of the implementation of the three items agreed,” Agoro said.
He clarified that Air Traffic Flow Control (ATC) is part of the tools recognised by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), and used worldwide in the event that there exists a deficiency or inability of the ATM system to deliver a safe, efficient and effective ATC service.
“NATCA decided to embark on such a process and to use such a tool, after a deliberate due diligence indicated that due to some failures in the ATM system, its members could no longer guarantee the delivery of a safe, efficient and effective ATC service.
“Consequent of the death of one of our members on active duty, under conditions which the executive council considers unacceptable by all standards, and the resultant trauma suffered by his immediate colleagues causing real apathy in its ranks due to perceived negligence on the part of management, the executive council agreed that, as a disciplined and responsible body, it cannot allow its members to operate to full capacity under such stringent and inadequate conditions.”
“Hence, we decided that a reduced capacity is better, so as to safeguard and maintain a semblance of the safety standards established by ICAO’s Standards And Recommended Practices (SARPs) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Regulations.”