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Union demands release of detained airport workers




The Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) has condemned the detention of its members by the Directorate of State Security (DSS), in Uyo Akwa Ibom State and has demanded for their immediate release.

In a petition to the Director General of State Security Services dated July 7, 2015, and signed by the general secretary of ATSSSAN, Captain Tarnongu, it reads: “It is our great expectation that you would deploy your good office to redress this wrong by ordering the immediate release of our members who are being conspiratorially detained by your officers in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.

May we remind you that under a democratic society, rule of impunity is strongly frowned at”. Tarnongu said crises started when members of the ATSSSAN and NUATE at Akwa Ibom 
Airport Development Company (IADCL), embarked on strike to express their grievances to the management’s high handedness, mismanagement of the airport, unpaid wages and allowances and desperate transfer of 150 specially trained staffers to ministries and departments outside the airport.

ATSSSAN stated that the management of IADCL has been displaying unparalleled anti union attitudes adding that one Barrister Idara  Etim, the resource administrator in a memo directed that no worker should join any union as the state government has not approved any form of trade unionism while workers already in the union were given February 12 to renounce their membership or face disciplinary action.

The union noted that there was right to freedom of association, to join and belong to unions. The union said the IADCL has planned to spend $34m to train workers to replace those redeployed to ministries saying it was a grand scheme to corruptly mismanage the state taxpayers money.

“To our chagrin however, security agencies were dragged in to a purely industrial relations matters that has been mediated on by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity yet, the management remained recalcitrant and refused to honour all hallowed agreements.

“The Police arrested five of our members while the DSSS arrested three others. Our Lawyers were able to secure the release of members picked up by the Police but the DSS Directorate in Uyo arm-twisted the judiciary in the State to get a back-door order permitting the Directorate to detain three of our members till 18th July, 2015”

“It is imperative to add that the business of aviation all over the world is never micro-managed, there is nothing like Akwa Ibom aviation standards, but there are only global standards as set out by ICAO. We are determined to make sure that these standards are maintained as well as those of industrial relations set by ILO”

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