JOINT unions have insisted on a peaceful demonstration from Monday September 12, 2022 and a total industrial action after a 14 day period in a bid to tackle an existential to threat arising from some obnoxious clauses infused in the Aviation Bill presented to the president to accent into law.
The unions including the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria( ATSSSAN), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers( NAAPE) have also said the clauses maliciously added by the powers in the industry not only to prohibit trade union activities in the aviation industry in Nigeria but totally obliterate aviation unions.
The unions said unknown persons in the aviation sector added the regressive clauses to the Bills the National Assembly transmitted to the President for assent.
The clauses added includes, “1(1) All services which facilitate and maintain the smooth, orderly and safe take off, flight and landing of aircraft, embarkation and disembarkation and evacuation of passengers and cargo respectively in all aerodromes in Nigeria are hereby designated as essential services pursuant to the provisions of Section 11(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered).
“(2) The Minister may by regulations prohibit all or such class or classes of workers, officers and other employees or persons whether corporate or natural, engaged in the provision of services specified in subsection (1) of this section from taking part in a strike or other industrial action.
” 2(1) The provisions of the Trade Disputes (essential Services) Act, Cap. T9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 shall apply to service in the Agency, facilities managed by the Agency and in the implementation of this Bill. (2) There shall be no strikes, lock-outs, pickets, blockades, service disruptions, etc of any kind within all facilities managed by the Agency and where any labour dispute arises, such dispute shall be resolved by the Agency.
The unions described what was happening as the Ministry of aviation trying to interlope on the responsibilities of the Ministry of Labor stressing that the move is self serving and intended to cause problems
Comrade Ocheme Aba who spoke on behalf of other unions said,” This means that the Bill has granted powers to the Minister of Aviation to regulate trade unions and workers in contradiction to the Trade Unions Act, 2004 which grants the Minister of Labour sole regulatory powers over trade union and industrial relations matters in Nigeria.
He continued,” It is absolutely clear that the contentious clauses smuggled into the aviation agencies’ Bills have no moral, nor legal, basis for being there. The lame reference to Section 11(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (Public Order and Public Security) is poignantly pretentious.
” Its attempt to enable the Minister of Aviation usurp the powers of the Minister of Labour is diabolically disingenuous. And its bold assault on the rights of trade unions and hapless workers renders the intended law a demonstration of ultimate disservice by public officers. Therefore, the intended laws must be prevented from breathing any air of acceptance.
“In this regard we demand as follows: As the leadership of the Senate and House Committees on Aviation have denied knowledge of the obnoxious clauses in the bills, it has become absolutely necessary to identify how these clauses found their ways into the Bills transmitted to the President.
Recall that during the public hearings in the Aviation Committee of the House of Representatives, issue of essential service was responded to by the National president of NAAPE who drew attention to a National Industrial Court ruling on the matter, to the effect that Comrade Aba further stressed that the matter was rested at that, but said it was baffling, how the clauses mentioned above found their way surreptitiously into the Bills.
The unions insisted that the culprits be exposed and punished stressing that obnoxious clauses are in heavy conflict with prevailing national and international laws (as ratified by Nigeria) and cannot find a hiding place in an aviation conclave.
“As such, Aba said, “the National Assembly has no choice than to recall the Bills and expunge the clauses in contention. It be placed on record that the consequence of a bad law is that the law cannot be implemented, or will be disobeyed.”