ATSSSAN NEC Frowns At Some Minister Keyamo’s Appointments, 50% IGR Deductions From Agencies

The National Executive Council (NEC) of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) has condemned what it described as “the high rate of stagnation of career officers” in Nigeria’s aviation agencies “while frowning at the current appointments by the Honourable Minister of Aviation of persons (greenhorns) from outside the industry to man grade level 16 and 17 positions that are said not to be available for promotion of top career staff.”

A communique issued at the end of ATSSSAN NEC meeting held in Ibadan, February 21 to 23, 2024 with the theme, Challenges Of Labour Unions In A Depressing Economy: Nigeria Aviation Sector In View” reads:“

“Realizing the enormous constraints into which the compulsory deduction from the Internally Generated Revenues (IGR) of the aviation agencies has put the performance of the statutory agencies, ATSSSAN unequivocally calls for the exemption of the aviation agencies from the deduction of 50% of their IGR under the Fiscal Responsibility Act.

Since the agencies were not established for profit making, stifling them of the required funds will jeopardize the effective performance of their safety and security mandates, and endanger the provision of critical services that may endanger the safety and security of civil aviation in Nigeria.

NEC-in-session warns that if the federal government insists on the deduction, thereby compounding the current financial state of the agencies, we may be forced to direct all aviation workers to down tools until the government reverses itself.

Our Union noted that the recently released conditions of service of the aviation agencies are out of tune with current economic and allied realities having been held by relevant agencies for over seven years since submission.

The NEC noted the pledge made by the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development to take measures for ameliorating the hardship faced by aviation workers but regretted that nothing has come out of the minister’s promise.

The supervising Ministry of Aviation and Aerospace Development is hereby reminded of the need to direct the various agencies to set up committees for the immediate review of the various conditions of service (CoS) to prevent imminent industrial action in the industry as aviation workers are ready to take their destinies in their hands.

The Union commends the Federal Government for reversing itself from the relocation of the Headquarters of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) to Abuja.

To ensure a sustainable and seamless relocation in the future, the federal government should as a matter of urgency ensure the provision of necessary infrastructure (including offices and befitting staff accommodation for FAAN in the Federal Capital Territory).

Recognizing that the specks over airports concession are a little settled for now, our Union’s major interest remains a concrete resolution of every contending labour issues if airport concession remains a government policy.

Among these labour issues is the problem of ongoing pension computations of FAAN staff which has become almost intractable for FAAN Management.

It is also necessary to remind ourselves that the actuarial valuation for FAAN staff as of 2021 was around ₦154 Billion.

NEC wishes to reiterate that only a transparent concession process that accommodates the contributions of FAAN Management in the exercise, and above all, the resolution of all labour issues will be acceptable to entire FAAN workers.

While the ex-SAHCOL staff redundancy beneficiaries and our Unions appreciate the payment of the renegotiated redundancy benefits, the federal government agencies, viz: the Bureau of Public Enterprises (BPE) and the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation (OAGF) in charge of the payment are reminded of the outstanding 35% of beneficiaries that are yet to be settled due to their omission from the last verification exercise (some of who reside abroad) or for other reasons.

Since we were assured that there was going to be a mop-up verification exercise, we remain at a loss as to why no action is been taken by the outstanding balance. The NEC therefore calls on the government to kindly end this frustration.

The Union also expresses its appreciation to the Federal Government of Nigeria for the payment of the exit benefits of the ex-Nigeria Airways staff thus far.

We earnestly plead with the Federal Government to expedite actions on the payment of the outstanding ₦34Billion to the beneficiaries as some of them are dying due to lack of finances to take care of their health needs.

The NEC-in-session calls on all employers in the private sector in the aviation industry to respect collective bargaining agreements in order to avert industrial crises at the workplace.

NEC-in-session was seriously disturbed by the continuous willful act by some private airlines towards frustrating the unionization of their employees contrary to the letters and spirit of section 40 of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and relevant international Conventions and Laws.

NEC calls on the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment to ensure compliance by all employers in the aviation sector with the rights of workers to belong to unions of their choice.

The Union therefore calls on the Honourable Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development to urgently convoke a stakeholders’ meeting of the defaulting airlines and our unions, with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in attendance.

NEC-in-session condemns the high rate of stagnation of career officers in the aviation parastatals. While frowning at the current appointments by the Honourable Minister of Aviation of persons (greenhorns) from outside the industry to man grade level 16 and 17 positions that are said not to be available for promotion of top career staff.

The NEC observed that since the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB) became multi-modal, neither the take-off grant from the government nor the contributions from funding entities like rail and marine have been forthcoming.

It is a fact that investigation of incidences and accidents of this nature requires huge infrastructures/equipment and funds.

Hence an urgent need for inter-ministerial intervention and cooperation of the ministries of aviation and transportation to ensure the proper funding of NSIB to achieve the statutory mandate of the organization.

NEC-in-session was disturbed by the emerging development at Ibom Airport Development Company Limited, the managers of the Victor Attah International Airport, Uyo, where the workers have been suddenly excised out of pension and gratuity benefits.

NEC calls on the Akwa Ibom state government to kindly respect its commitments under the existing conditions of service by restoring the pension and gratuity right of workers to avoid a breakdown of law and order.

And lastly, it was observed that some of the Management of the companies of our branch affiliates still hold the erroneous belief that unions are antagonists to their corporate interests.

We hereby repeat for the umpteenth time that unions should be seen as partners in progress that are always prepared to work for the companies’ growth and development without necessarily compromising the interests of their workforce.”

The NEC meeting was attended by all the seventeen (17) affiliates of ATSSSAN with the full complement of their respective branch chairmen, secretaries, and the National Officers commencing with the National Administrative Committee (NAC) meeting on February 21, to the NEC meeting of February 22/23 and the public symposium of February 23, which marked the end of the program.

Issues affecting workers’, especially members’ welfare and working conditions, and the aviation industry at large were sincerely discussed, and positions/resolutions were taken.

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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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