FG, unions fix May 9 to address service condition, welfare row
The Federal Government and aviation workers’ unions have resolved to address pending issues of welfare at a roundtable meeting slated for May 9, 2023.
The aggrieved workers, who earlier had a two-day protest strike, and threatened to ground air transport operations nationwide over non-implementation of Condition of Service (CoS), have sheath the sword pending the outcome of the meeting.
Recall that the unions had penultimate week warned of beginning an indefinite strike action should the authorities fail to resolve the CoS, and other welfare-related issues in seven days. The threat was issued after a two-day warning strike that disrupted domestic and international flights.
The coalition, made up of members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreation Services Employees (AUPCTRE), had bemoaned the non-implementation of the CoS about seven years after it was negotiated with the workers.
President of ANAP, Kabir Gusau, at a three-day forum organised by the Ministry of Aviation and the Joint Aviation Trade Unions Forum (JATUF), in Lagos, blamed the government for always failing to honour agreements.
Gusau said the unions were pushed to the wall to warrant the recent industrial action. He decried that the government, over the years, had continued to treat issues affecting workers with levity. He hinted that a meeting between the government and the unions had been slated for May 9, 2023, in Abuja, to resolve all the challenges associated with welfare.
He hoped that a fruitful agreement would be reached to avert another “breakdown of law and order” in the sector. Representative of the Minister of Aviation, Nkechi Nwokocha, however, denied that the government had been negligent to the plight of workers.
Nwokocha said the Ministry of Aviation and the various managements in the sector had been working harmoniously with the unions since the government came onboard in 2015, and queried the genuine intent of embarking on strike at this time.
Nwokocha, who is the Director, Human Resource Management, the Federal Ministry of Aviation, said: “The minister is very pained that the unions are coming up with the issue of strikes at the time he is about to leave office. He has been working with the unions over the years, but he feels the unions want to rubbish all he has done over the years.
“You (unions) need a paradigm shift on how to deal with the government on any critical issue. Whenever the unions move with the government, there will always be positive results. We are partners in progress. A good working environment will cause workers to deliver their best,” she said.