FOLLOWING the ongoing strike by pilots and engineers at Bristow Helicopters which has entered its second day, the airline management has said it would implement the application of “no work, no pay” under the provisions of the Labour law as it views the action as illegal in the eyes of the law.
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) had yesterday 0000hours commenced strike at Bristow over sundry issues including failing to negotiate Conditions of Service with management which led to several passengers of the airline being stranded.
After seeking to explain its side of the story, management today released a statement saying that NAAPE is demanding that 100% of the salaries of the national pilots and engineers to be paid in US$ Dollars contrary to the terms of the agreement with them on remuneration.
The statement issued by the airline management read: “We note NAAPEs continued refusal to call off the illegal industrial action and come to the negotiating table.
NAAPE has raised a number of issues as matters of contention but it appears that their main issue of dispute is the remuneration paid to the National pilots and engineers (currently the highest paid Rotary pilots and engineers in Nigeria).
“NAAPE allege that Bristow is discriminatory against the National pilots and engineers in favour of the expatriate staff. This is very much false. Over the years, the number of expatriate staff have reduced significantly in favour of National pilots and engineers in line with our local content plan.
“Bristow is very proud of the increasing number of Nationals in the business and will continue (as it has always done) to train and sponsor National pilots and engineers.
“For emphasis, with respect to remuneration, in 2019, NAAPE and Bristow reached an agreement on the remuneration of national pilots and engineers. In essence, the agreement provided that the salaries will be paid at an exchange rate of ₦345 (as against the then Central Bank rate of ₦306) but with an adjustment to the agreed rate if the NAFEX (which was ₦362.33 as at the date of the agreement) rate moves either way by 20%. As at today’s date, the NAFEX rate has not moved by 20% therefore an adjustment to the agreed rate is not justified.”
“NAAPE is now demanding that 100% of the salaries of the National pilots and engineers should be paid in US$ Dollars. This is contrary to the terms of the agreement with NAAPE on remuneration.
” Rather than comply with the legally binding agreement, this is the basis of NAAPEs allegations that Bristow is discriminating against its National staff. This, in our view, is an attempt by NAAPE to avoid compliance with the legally binding agreement between the parties.
“We have been advised that the strike action by NAAPE is illegal as it has not followed the legal process and procedures. Therefore, the company is at liberty to take appropriate legal action in response to this strike. This includes the application of “no work, no pay” under the provisions of the Labour law.
“In addition, participation in an illegal strike action amounts to a breach of the company’s employment terms and the company will take appropriate steps in this regard.
“In conclusion, the company remains willing to continue the process of dialogue and engagement with NAAPE and extended an invitation to NAAPE