The Ministry of Aviation has expressed displeasure at the ongoing warning strike by the Aviation Unions in spite of efforts at meeting the demands of the workers stressing that the ongoing strike is unnecessary as it increased the hardship on Nigerians while appealing to the unions to end it.
However, the Ministry seems oblivious of the specifics of what the unions are agitating against with regards tearing down of buildings confusing private concerns of Dominion and EAN hangars with offices of workers especially in Lagos.
The Ministry is reacting following the total shutdown of airport operations nationwide by National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreation Services Employees over the non-release of the reviewed Condition of Service, CoS and sundry reasons
According to a statement signed by Head, Press & Public Affairs, Odutayo Oluseyi apart from increasing hardship the warning strike will affect flight schedules, lead to economic losses and negatively impact on our rating globally.
They argued that the grievances were not issues that would lead to a strike.
The statement read,” The strike is unnecessary as it will increase the hardship on our citizens, affect flight schedules, lead to economic losses and negatively impact on our rating globally.
On the grievances prompting the strike by the Unions, these are issues that should not lead to strike.”
However, the Ministry obviously not conversant with other reasons for the strike assumed that the unions were agitating over demolition of buildings obstructing the runway when in fact the unions are referring to FAAN, NCAA and NAMA regional offices the Minister plans to tear down for an Aerotropolis project.
The statement read on,” It should be noted that the planned demolition of certain buildings obstructing the runway is in public interest and an administrative issue that can be sorted in-house. The Unions should have met with management of Agencies for alternative accommodation to all affected offices before going ahead with the strike.
“On the Concession of airports, the Unions are aware of global practices and for the Aviation industry in Nigeria to be the hub in Africa, the concession is the way to improve infrastructure and make our airports economically viable as this is without loss of jobs.
On Conditions of Service in some of the Agencies, which is one of the major grouses the statement read, “it is work in progress. The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission is already carrying out assessments and will soon conclude. The Unions should also note, if they are not already aware, that consequential adjustment of the minimum wage has been finalized and about to be paid anytime soon. We have always conveyed this information in the several conversations and meetings held with the Unions.
“The Management of the Ministry of Aviation is open to continuous engagement with the Unions to improve their welfare. However, this can only be done in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect.
“Let me reiterate that while we are appealing to the Unions to sheath the sword, the Management will view seriously any behaviour by any Union that is likely to lead to a breakdown of law and order at our airports.
“The Ministry wishes to appeal to the Unions to call off the strike and join hands with Management to make the Aviation industry a hub in Africa.