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Aviation Unions protest anti workers’ organogram

Nigerian’s aviation unions yesterday made do with their threats to commence the picketing and an indefinite strike over what they called a controversial organogram earlier approved by the government which they said lacked workers’ interest in the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

The commencement of the strike yesterday morning came after one week of ultimatum the unions issued to the government to review the organogram.

Speaking yesterday on the action, the National President of one of the unions, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Comrade Illitrus Amadu, insisted that the strike will continue until the government and the NCAA yielded to their requests.

The other unions that joined in the strike include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

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According to Illitrus, since the unions wrote a letter to the minister of state for aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to complain about the organogram and other requests,  he ignored them.

His words: “I can assure you that since we wrote to the Minister expressing our grievance and copied the NCAA management, nobody invited us to discuss the issue so it is like calling the bluff of the unions with regards to the ultimatum. You must understand that we are in a very tight position as unions. I can speak categorically as the leadership we are under tremendous pressure, workers are losing confidence in us and they expect nothing but what we are doing today.

For us, there is nothing personal.  about this. We had a situation in NCAA and we agreed with management that the way to go about this is to review the organogram, management did a review with financial justification to say we have the capacity for the implementation of the new organogram, document was sent to the ministry for review, the ministry set up a team, they came, we agreed at the stakeholders meeting on certain things, l remember l asked the chairman of the committee, the former director of human resources in the ministry of aviation who asked if we were satisfied with what we have and l said we were not fully satisfied but  we can live with the consensus reached. We were hopeful the document will come the way we agreed, then they came back rather than implement the expended organogram agreed upon,  they now shrank the organogram.

Let me say that the core essence of the review was to address an issue that arose in 2017 out of the promotion examination. They did not address that problem, rather they went an did something contrary.”

While declaring that the strike did not intend to inflict any pain on travellers, the ATSSSAN President, however, said the impact of the strike will be felt in due course in the areas of administrative issues, approvals that airline wants to obtain which he said they cannot get within this period.

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“We don’t have to shut down the airports or disrupt flight operations to achieve what we want but most importantly, let me say we rose from a meeting held yesterday where we resolved to shut down all the formations of NCAA in Nigeria, so this strike is not in Lagos alone but in all the NCAA formations across Nigeria, while we rose from that meeting, we got calls around 6 pm, that the ministry is inviting us for a meeting in Abuja, so why did they wait till the eleventh hour, so we decided the strike action will go on, we will avail ourselves to meet with government, if we are not satisfied with the outcome of the discussions, we will continue.

On why the unions still chose to embark on the strike despite having been invited by the minister, Illitrus attributed the strike to the refusal of the NCAA management to play the game by its rules saying: “Let me tell you for the record there are rules of engagement in this management, union relationship. When unions write letters to management demanding for certain things, management should first acknowledge receipt of the letter, then invite the unions to a table discussion, this never happened on this organogram matter since it was released and we expressed our objection to it. We put it in writing, that is about a month now, we communicated it to the ministry, nobody has invited us for any discussion.”

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