Tuesday , 3 October 2023

‘No guaranty for Nigeria Air if Nigeria Airways settlements remain unresolved’, ATSSSAN fires

  • Prepares for concession showdown with FG

RISING from deliberations of a National Executive Council (NEC) meeting, the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria ( ATSSSAN) has resolved that it will not guaranty a place for the new national carrier ‘Nigeria Air’ if the Severance Entitlements Settlement of ex-workers of the liquidated former national carrier, Nigeria Airways is not met.

This is just as it said that Federal Government’ s planned concession the four (4) major International Airports will compromise safety, increase charges and increase liabilities and has insisted that it is not in support of the move and cannot guaranty peace if the plan is foisted on them.

The union in its communique signed by Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Frances Akinjole and National President, Comrade Ahmadu Ilitrus lamented that 960 of the ex-workers had died in pursuit of their entitlements despite the approval of said entitlements by the President.

It’s communique made available to Nigerianflightdeck.com read in part,”NEC-in-session laments the failure of the Federal Government to settle the outstanding entitlements of ex-workers of Nigeria Airways several years after the Airline was liquidated. The NEC appreciated the selfless efforts of President Mohammadu Buhari, GCFRN who finally gave approval for the payment of Forty-Five (45) Billion naira towards the settlement of the entitlements sometimes last year, yet condemns the non-payment as at date.”

“The NEC resolved that the issue of payment of the Severance Benefits of ex-Nigeria Airways workers must be resolved immediately in order to forestall brewing labour issues that could affect, in the negative, the prospects of the recently unveiled “Nigeria Air” by the Federal Government of Nigeria. ATSSSAN NEC warns that if Government does not pay Nigeria Airways workers their hard-earned entitlements, it will not guarantee any place for the new airline in the industry.”

“The NEC commiserates with the families of the over 960 Nigeria Airways workers who died in very avoidable health conditions while waiting for their entitlement and wish the souls of the departed workers a peaceful rest and the family they left behind the gratitude to carry on the struggle,” the communique read.

On the brewing concession, the union insists that concessioning the mainstay of airports in Nigeria will adversely affect the others which are sustained by the main four and lead to the crippling of FAAN as an agency.

Federal government through the Minister of State, Aviation, Hadi Sirika had insisted that there was no going back on the concession of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA Lagos, Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport Abuja, Port Harcourt Airport and Aminu Kano Airport, Kano), operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN)

The union insisted that if government goes ahead with the plans without handling all pending labour issues including workers’ entitlements and pension rights, ATSSSAN shall not guarantee industry harmony at the nation’s airport airports.

A five-point segment of the communique dealing with concession read in part,”the four (4) Airports are the main sources of FAAN revenue. NEC fears that if the government succeeds with the concession of the airports, the entire operations of FAAN will collapse, as all other airports operated by FAAN are maintained or supplemented with revenue generated from the four referenced airports.”

“(ii) FAAN has huge pension liabilities and will not be able to settle its pension obligations to retirees (iii) Safety at our airports will be compromised (iv.)salaries of the over 6,900 staff scattered around the 22 airports presently managed by FAAN would be compromised. (v.)concession of Airports will lead to high airports charges in the affected airports which will affect airlines, and by direct implication, results in high air ticket prices.”

The NEC further advised the Federal Government to look at other successful models of managing airports as being done in South Africa, Egypt, Namibia, Ghana and other civil Aviation jurisdictions around the world.

It concluded,”The NEC therefore mandated the leadership of ATSSSAN to keep vigil and that paraventure the government insists on the concession of the airports as planned, ATSSSAN must insist that all labour issues including workers’ entitlements and pension rights are settled by the Government; failing which ATSSSAN shall not guarantee industry peace at our airports.”