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Union gives ultimatum for recall of sacked pilots, others

By Gloria Nwafor 
06 August 2020   |   4:15 am
Bristow and Air Peace airlines were yesterday given two weeks to recall all sacked pilots and engineers or risk being grounded by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

Bristow and Air Peace airlines were yesterday given two weeks to recall all sacked pilots and engineers or risk being grounded by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) that gave the ultimatum vowed that if their demand is not heeded within the timeline, it would withdraw services of pilots and aircraft maintenance engineers across all airlines.

Addressing a press conference yesterday, National President of NAAPE, Galadima Abednego, said that until all labour issues were resolved due to attendant safety concerns, all the sacked workers must be brought back to work.

Management of Air Peace airline had on Monday sacked 69 pilots over financial constrains posed by the coronavirus pandemic, while Bristow Helicopters on Tuesday disengaged 100 pilots and engineers over welfare issues and alleged infractions.

Abednego urged all concerned arms of government and agencies to call Nigeria airline operators to order, and ensure that they revert salaries to the levels they were before the outbreak of COVID-19.

He said the NCAA should urgently prevail on all airline operators to stop what he described as unilateral and reckless sacking of pilots and engineers under the guise of COVID-19 pandemic.

To him, the need for the NCAA to ground the erring airlines is pertinent, as only a few pilots would be available to fly aircraft, thereby causing them to be on air for more than the number of required hours by safety regulations.

Abednego, who maintained that aviation operations remained unforgiving, said the union could not allow the situation to degenerate and cause crashes.

He enjoined the Federal Government to release the promised relief package for the airlines and other government agencies to further save jobs and businesses. The union advised that airline operators that insist on laying off workers should not benefit from the largesse.

NAAPE alleged that majority of the local airlines had resorted to impunity regarding the salaries and wages of its members.

According to the NAAPE president, the sacking of the workers causes anxiety in the aviation industry.

“These acts of unfair labour practices have the potential to precipitate negative human factors with dire consequences on safety, security and stability of the aviation industry in Nigeria.

“It saddens the heart to witness the emergence of unilateral actions and impunity by these companies which not only betray the spirit of our recent engagements but runs counter to the essence and dictates of the traditions and practices of industrial relations in the country as its negates our extant labour and trade union laws”.

According to Abednego, unilateral and forceful pay cuts have become rampant without recourse to the traditions and statutes governing the country’s industrial relations.

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) pledged to support the affected workers fully to ensure they are recalled by the airlines.

Vice Chairman, Lagos State NLC, Tokunbo Korodo, at the briefing, said the labour body was standing in for the workers.