TODAY unions across the country embarked on a warning strike and at the Freedom Square of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) unions at the Murtala Muhammed Airport followed suit, shutting down the administrative arm of the agency over irreconcilable differences. Read also: Unions allege Chinese debt on airport terminals grown to US$1billion
The unions Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria(ATSSSAN),National Union of Air Transport Employees ( NUATE), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals ( ANAP) and the Nigerian Union of Pensioners( NUP) are also staging a shutdown arising from the plans of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika to address the workers directly which the unions say is wrong.
As of 9am the unions have already mobilized for the one day strike after which they go back to negotiate with management.
NUATE President Comrade Ben Nnabue who spoke to some media officials said ” this is a warning strike and the Minister cannot come and talk to our workers direct without us. This action is just for today after which we will renegotiate with management.
He however warned that if the Minister did arrive and meet with management at the International Airport, the strike will continue non-stop.”
Meanwhile, an advance party comprising the Managing Director of FAAN, Captain Rabiu Yadudu and Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA), Captain Musa Nuhu and other directors were not allowed into the venue of the town hall meeting inside the Freedom Square.
It was also learnt that the Minister of Aviation who had intended to address the staff directly had earlier landed and proceeded to Caverton Helicopters where he inspected facilities but did not proceed to the Freedom Square.
Comrade Ocheme Aba who spoke also told the gathering that if the management of FAAN obliged the agreement reached the warning strike would end today and a week will be allowed for management to meet the demands of the workers to avert a full blown indefinite strike .
A fortnight ago, the unions had issued a seven (7) day ultimatum to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria ( FAAN) declaring a dispute and demanding payment of salaries, gratuity and other emoluments to avert an industrial action but the indication from labour is that they will not be meeting the minister. Read also: Unions issue FAAN 7-day ultimatum over salaries, outstanding allowances
In an effort to stall the unions’ action which may commence October 14, 2020 after the expiry of the ultimatum issued, a series of meetings were lined up in regions of the country all through next week to meet with staff however, the unions have warned it’s members to steer clear.
An internal memo also obtained by our reporter dated October 8th titled: Invitation for a Meeting with the Honourable Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika with ref: FAAN/HA/1A/400/19/Vol 4/39 signed by M.D. Musa the General Manager Administration slated the meeting with all staff is an interactive session to discuss the challenges meted on the agency by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The letter read in part:” It is an interactive session aimed at addressing the prevailing challenges facing FAAN in particular and the aviation industry in general, occasioned by the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“All staff are therefore enjoined to avail themselves of this unique opportunity offered by the honourable minister to present issues bothering their welfare among other challenges, offer suggestions that will move the organisation forward.
The meetings are scheduled to hold in the SouthWest in Lagos on Monday October 12, South South/ South East in Port Harcourt on Tuesday October 13th; North Central in Abuja on Thursday October 15th and North West/East in Kano on Friday October 16.
However, a bulletin obtained by Nigerianflightdeck from Unions to staff read,” Arising from the extraordinary emergency meeting of JAC held on the 9th October, 2020 the JAC -in-session resolves that all FAAN staff should boycott the invitation in all regions. We view it as an attempt to justify the planned concession program. It is the right of the Labour to boycott any meeting under Labour Law. The fight for the survival of the soul of FAAN has begun,” the bulletin read.
Apart from the planned boycott of these meetings in the region the unions insisted that FAAN management meets its demands ranging from remittance of ₦105.3 billion actuarial valuation as at 2016, remittance of all pension deduction to the Pension Fund Administrators ( PFA), immediate preparation of 2020 actuarial valuation.
Others include immediate remittance of all cooperative deductions, immediate payment of (i) child education grant (ii) leave allowance (iii) furniture grant (iv) gratuity (v) Covid-19 palliatives (vi) death benefits (vii) other claims.
The unions also demanded immediate payment of outstanding salaries, full payment of salaries and pensions subsequently; immediate release of Conditions of Service (COS) and immediate implementation of new national minimum wage.