Industrial Harmony In The Aviation Industry: Two Sides Of The Coin
The various perspectives on disagreements between workers and employers in Nigeria’s aviation industry emerged at the FAAN National Aviation Conference (FNAC) 2023 held at International Conference Centre, Abuja under the theme, “Sustainability Of The Aviation Industry In Nigeria.
A restive or aggrieved worker is a disaster in the waiting. Though there was a consensus that aviation unions need to engage constantly engage with their employers rather than embark on frequent strikes and disrupt industry operations, the Chairman of League of Airport & Aviation Correspondents (LAAC), Mr. Olusegun Koiki in his panel presentation, said it was important for employers to consider the well being of workers in the industry rather than get apprehensive whenever the issue is raised.
“The type of incessant strikes we have these days is not welcome. The aviation industry is a national security environment,” said General Secretary, Aviation Safety Round Table Initiative (ASRTI), Group Capt. John Ojikutu (Rtd).
Capt Roland Iyayi of Airline Operators of Nigeria (AON) said: “We should not mandate the unionization of private enterprise. But if unions disrupt operations, it discourages Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
However, President of National Union of Air Transport Employees NUATE), Mr. Ben Nnabue says there is an enabling law for workers to join unions. Labour issues are not bound only by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), there is the International Labour Organization (ILO) and we comply with their standards. There has to be balancing.”
The Director of Human Resources at Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Dr. Musa Maisala said “unions should try to be partners in progress rather than agitators.”
Former Managing Director of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Capt. Hamisu Yadudu advised unions that “work comes before the staff. It is the work that brought the need to employ. Unions must protect their work first while asking for better welfare. In engagement, present both sides of the issue. It is confidence that makes aviation; the confidence to fly. Build confidence in your product. People will come to you. Business owners lack confidence and see uncertainty in the unions. So, unions need to nurture their processes to build confidence. Use engagement with management to build confidence. Make the unions attractive to business owners and they will allow their staff to join.”
On training of personnel, the Special Adviser to the Minister of Aviation on Inter-Agency Relationship, Mr. Sheu Dogo Mohammed said training depends on availability of resources but Capt. Iyayi said “every staff is entitled to human capital development and training to grow the industry. It should not be determined by budget.”