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We’ll take ‘decisive’ actions on airport concession, minimum wage, others this week, Aviation union warns FG

By Chinelo Obogo, Lagos

National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has said that the issues surrounding the planned concession of four international airports, minimum wage consequential adjustment and conditions of service for the aviation agencies would be addressed this week.

In a statement addressed to all its members to commemorate Workers Day, the national president of NUATE, Ben Nnabue, said the union stands by the decision of workers not to accept the proposals by government agencies on these issues.

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He also said that the union is not satisfied with ongoing discussions around airports concession as it is unclear what the government’s response is to the demands of aviation unions on labour issues.

He also urged the union members in Caverton Helicopters to be ready to embark on strike at a date to be shortly announced over the non payment of salaries.

“The twin big issues of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment and Conditions of Service for the aviation agencies are currently raging and we stand firmly by the decision of workers not to accept continuing shifting of the goal post by government agencies on these issues. Therefore, this week has been set out for major decisions and subsequent decisive actions that will bring these issues to a foreclosure.

“In similar vein, our union is unsatisfied with ongoing discussions around the big question of airports concession. We are unclear as to government’s actual response the demands of aviation unions on labour issues and many lapses in the concession program. In the coming weeks, important decisions will be made to chart a clear path towards ameliorating already stated demands of workers.

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“In like manner, we express our frustration at the dilly-dallying attitude of the BPE in attending to the negotiated redundancy benefits of ex-staff of SAHCO, a matter pending since 2009. Let me assure the affected ex-workers that the unions have gone so far and cannot retreat on the matter at this point. We are at the verge of final solution, failing which we shall take decisive actions towards seeking justice for the victims.

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“Special mention must be made of the regime in Caverton Helicopters as salaries and other entitlements of workers are denied at will. Workers who are forced out of the company never receive their benefits as per Conditions of Service. All agreements entered into with our Union, and with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) under the mediation of the Ministry of Labour have all been kept in the breach. I use this opportunity to charge all aviation workers to prepare for the mother of all strikes against Caverton Helicopters at a date to be shortly announced.

“We are presently battling the vexed issue of back catering by some foreign airlines. We are receiving the ears of NCAA on the matter, the reason we tarried on it in the last one month or so. We are definitely committed to seeing an end to the unwelcome act in the interest of local in-flight catering services companies.

“We use this medium to call on the Minister of Aviation to urgently review his Aviation Road Map. We hold the view that the projects under the Road Map require significant adjustments to harmonise them with current realities in the world of aviation and our national interest.

“We also call on the Federal Government to urgently address the serious shortcomings of the newly commissioned international terminal at MMIA, Lagos, so as to put the terminal to use. It will be a major disservice of this administration should the terminal turn out to be a white elephant. This must be avoided at all cost,” he said.

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