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Strike looms in aviation as workers protest salary slash



Strike looms in aviation as workers protest salary slash

Industrial action looms in the Aviation sector as workers unions have given the federal government a two-week ultimatum to ensure payment of full salaries of aviation agencies workers.

Four major unions in the aviation sector have threatened to embark on a nationwide industrial action in should the government fail to pay the full salaries of their workers.

In an open letter entitled ‘To avert crisis in the aviation industry,’ which was addressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, the unions said it was detrimental to tamper with aviation workers’ salaries at a critical time.

The unions include the National Union of Air Transport Employees; Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria; Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals; and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees.

In the letter, which was sighted by our correspondent in Abuja, the joint unions painted a gloomy picture of the aviation sector with respect to workers’ welfare under the prevailing effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.

They said, “The situation requires urgent attention and mitigation to avert a looming national crisis.”

They told the President that the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria had to strive to pay salaries for the month of May.

“The possibility of another such miracle for the month of June is rather bleak,” the unions stated in the letter which was jointly signed by the Secretary-General, NUATE, Ocheme Aba; Secretary-General, ANAP, AbdulRasaq Saidu; Deputy Secretary, ATSSSAN, Francis Akinjole; and General Secretary, AUPCTRE, Babatunde Omotola.

They noted that at the same time, the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency had informed its in-house unions about its inability to continue to pay normal salaries.

They said, “Most aviation companies have sent their workers home without salaries for months now, while some are paying only a fraction of salaries to workers on essential duties who are compelled to come to work.

“While the adverse socioeconomic situation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic is an act of God, there can be little debate that workers have been dealt a larger portion of the burden to bear due to no fault of theirs.”

The labour unions added, “This burden has become exceedingly telling on the workers and the cost has become unbearable. Our unions can no longer contain the wailings of our members, the aviation workers.

“In the light of the above reality, our unions are constrained to serve notice that should the situation of no salary or incomplete salary remains beyond the June 15, 2020, the only option left for our unions will be to ask all aviation workers to remain at home pending when their salaries can be guaranteed.”

They said this option would be inevitable as they were unable to justify the continuation of the present unfairness whereby workers had to use their meagre resources as transport fares to work under the difficult COVID-19 transportation challenge.

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