NUATE Calls Out Turkish, Other Airlines On Workers’ Unionization, Demands CoS Review

NUATE Calls Out Turkish, Other Airlines On Workers’ Unionization, Demands CoS Review

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) says its members “are seriously disturbed that Turkish Airlines continues to disguise their disavowal of the presence of the union in the airline by sacking union members under the pretense of cooked up charges. The airline’s intentions of getting rid of all workers who belong to the union to make way for new employees who will be compelled not to join the union, or to veer into employing a GSA are very obvious to us. But, as we have assured, the effort of Turkish Airlines to rubbish our Union and make scapegoats of our members will meet with colossal failure. The Union has capacity to put the airline in its place and restore the dignity of labour of our victimized members. That we must do. And that we shall do.”

This position is contained in the May Day 2024 Speech of NUATE National President, Comrade Ben Nnabue who said: “On 29th April, 2024, NUATE undertook a national campaign in Lagos for the unionization of private domestic airlines in Nigeria. This campaign will be replicated in Abuja and Kano shortly. And this is the final leg of peaceable approach to getting Air Peace, Ibom Air, Azman air, Max Air, Value Jet, Green Africa, Rano Air, United Nigeria Airlines, AOS Helicopters, Dana Air and others to embrace the reality of allowing their workers to join the union and eschew the foolhardiness of disavowal of the Nigerian laws that guarantee free association. We have decided to become decisive in dealing with this age long imbroglio. It is our decision that this is the last May Day speech that will refer to the matter in future tense. It is therefore, our sincere hope that the mentioned airlines do hearken to the voice of reason and sensibly come to fruitful discussion with the union and not throw the industry into unnecessary conflagration.”

Nnabue said: “Because the cost of leaving has hit the roof, pre-existing salary regimes have completely gone out of equilibrium, creating urgent need for reviews. Our Great Union has presently carried out such reviews in a number of our branch organizations, is undertaking same in a number of others, while more are still being lined up. It is important to call on all managements to cooperate with the Union in order to arrive at meaningful resolutions in all cases in a fair manner that provides enough to enable the worker continue to present himself/herself for work every working day.

We call on the stakeholders in the ongoing review of the National Minimum Wage Act to ensure that the private and quasi-private sectors are adequately protected in the negotiations, just as core civil servants. This time around, there must be clear provisions as to consequential adjustments of the agreed minimum wage applicable to all groups and sub-groups spelt out in the law. NUATE will not accept the previous situation whereby Civil Servants were the sole beneficiaries while others were left to labour for years on end before receiving pittance as consequential adjustment, as happened to aviation parastatals the last time around.

The review of the Conditions of Service of the aviation agencies has become very urgent. The previous reviews took up to nine (9) years to receive approval. And to pour insult upon injury, what came out after approval was a pale shadow of the negotiated agreements between the Unions and the Managements. We therefore call on the Agencies to answer the call from the Unions to commence the process of the review without further delay. That only the NCAA has answered this call up to date is extremely disturbing. We state here categorically that NUATE will not hesitate to take any further steps to assert our right in this regard should the remaining managements of FAAN, NSIB, NIMET, NAMA and NCAT continue to neglect our strident calls.”

He further said “we wish to make this the last time we shall be talking about the deduction of 50% of internally generated revenue of the aviation agencies. Our reproachment to the Federal Government to understand that the agencies are only cost recovery agencies, and that it is impossible to maintain aviation safety critical infrastructure and processes under the regime of 50% deductions at source have not received the desired attention of Government. As such, rather than aviation workers to be disgraced for causing safety and security breaches due to unavailability of required funds, we shall have to withdraw our services and allow agents of revenue collection to take over the functions and perform them without the necessary funding.”

He recalled that “NUATE did issue a strike notice over extremely poor remunerations to private security personnel which presents acute security risk to the airports. The intervention of the then Director General of the NCAA led to calling off of the strike. The DG then set up a process to rectify the anomaly. Unfortunately, the entire Management was replaced just before the finalization of the effort. More unfortunately, the new DG has refused to respond to our calls for the completion of that process, despite written and verbal notifications to the effect. It is our fervent hope that the new administration, led by the Ag. DG will prevent a relapse of the withdrawal of services notice by doing the needful to complete the earlier remedial actions being undertaken by his predecessor” and added that “NUATE stands ready to find peaceable solutions to all industrial relations issues through constructive dialogue. But, as is often said, only one hand cannot clap. We hope therefore, that all stakeholders will equally hold out their hearts to open and fair engagements as panacea for good industrial atmosphere in the aviation sector.

In the same vein, I hereby assure all members of NUATE nationwide, and indeed all aviation workers, that NUATE stands strong and ready to defend workers’ rights and to continue to advance the course of workers in aviation.”

He said “this year’s celebration is against the background of economic vagaries occasioned by strong policy changes by the new Federal Administration led by Bola Ahmed Tinubu, particularly with regard to fuel subsidy removal and floating of the national currency, the Naira. The consequent, and expected, sharp inflationary rises have wrecked untold hardship on the populace, especially common folks of which workers form significant portion.

In the aviation sector, these twin changes have had very unsalutary impact on businesses, creating uncertainties and social dis-equilibriums. The attendant rises in the cost of doing business has seriously challenged management capabilities. And as usual, the worker is being made to bear the brunt.  As a result, the industrial atmosphere is presently flammable, needing all available tendance and resourceful thinking. So, as we celebrate Workers Day 2024, NUATE’s thoughts are on the mirage of disquieting situations in our industry.”

He appreciated the Minister of Aviation & Aerospace development “for his highly notable efforts at settling the final leg of payments to the hapless ex-staff of the defunct Nigeria Airways. And we urge him not to relent until the matter is fully laid to rest. In this respect, may we fervently call on the president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu to hearken to the pleas of the suffering former workers and approve the request before him for the release of the final payment tranche so as to put this epic case to a final closure.

We wish to again reiterate our advice to the HMA&AD to convoke a stakeholders’ engagement of which outcomes would close communication gaps in the sector, establish negotiation protocols among different segments, put forward advisories on topical aviation issues. Also, such engagement will provide veritable aviation frameworks for embracing global and continental treaties and agreements such as AfCFTA, WTO, AGOA, etc, as well as conformities with other global and continental conventions which Nigeria has assented to on various issues.”

Spread the love
Avatar photo

Albinus Chiedu

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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *