Aviation union drags minister to court over concession of airports
Trade Unions in the aviation industry have filed a suit before the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) against the Minister of Aviation and Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), over alleged concession of airports.
The unions, under umbrella of the National Union of Air Transport Employee (NUATE), Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and Nigeria Union of Pensioners (NUB-FAAN Branch) as first to fourth claimants filed the suit against the Minister of Aviation and FAAN as defendants.
Human rights lawyer, Mr. Femi Falana (SAN) filed the suit marked NICN/LA/68/2023 on behalf of the plaintiffs.
They claimed that the defendants illegally proposed concession of the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt, Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos and the Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, Abuja without the consent and authority of the Federal Government, the 36 states government and the 774 councils in the country.
They alleged that defendants have decided to determine employment of the claimants in utter breach of the Federal Airports Authority’s Reviewed Conditions of Service, 2021 made pursuant to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act.
The claimants, in their 19-paragraph statement of fact, stated they are statutory employees of the defendants under the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act, noting that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Reviewed Conditions of Service, 2021, guides the employment of their members.
They stated that the proposed concession of the four international Airport by the defendant could not be justified on the grounds that; the scope of the concession to the surroundings of the terminals, up to FAAN housing estates did not take the assets valuation into account and arbitrarily fixing of profit sharing ratio (60:40) in favour of the concessionaire.
The concession is being undertaken by the Ministry of Aviation, and not by the 2nd defendant, which negates the Concession Act.
They claimed that the defendants have decided to ban trade unionism in the aviation industry contrary to the Trade Union Act (CAP T14) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
“The proposed concession has not considered the very serious implication of handing such important national security assets over to foreigners and that the proposed concession of the nation’s international airports has failed to address the payment of severance benefits to members of the claimants along with pension arrears owed former and present staff of the agency currently estimated at over N150 billion,” they claimed.
The claimants further stated that they have held several meetings with the defendants to resolve the dispute concerning the proposed concession, but did not achieve any result owing to the recalcitrant attitude of the defendants.
They are, therefore, praying the court to declare the four international airports are owned by the Federation of Nigeria and that employment of the members of the claimants cannot be determined by the defendants without complying with the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria Reviewed Conditions of Service, 2021 and the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria Act (Cap F5) Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
They are, therefore, asking the court for an order of perpetual injunction, restraining the defendants from concessioning the Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano, Kano State; Port Harcourt International Airport; Port Harcourt, Rivers State; Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos State and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, Federal Capital Territory.