Aviation bills: NLC meets with Senate committee

• Says sector not essential service

President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, on Tuesday, led his colleagues to a meeting with the Senate Committee on Aviation led by Senator Smart Adeyemi.

The meeting which was held at the National Assembly was to enable the leadership of the organised Labour explained its position on the six Executive Bills for the Aviation sector.

Amongst the bills being considered which have been subjected to the public hearing were “A Bill for an Act to repeal the Civil Aviation Act, 2006 and to Enact the Civil Aviation Act for the Regulation of Civil Aviation in Nigeria and for Other Related Matters, “A Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology Act and to Enact the Nigerian Aviation Technology Act to provide for its organisation, control and operation and for related Matters. Also included is a Bill for an Act to repeal the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency Act for the purpose of providing effective Air Navigation.”

In his presentation before the Committee, Comrade Wabba declared that it was an aberration to tag the aviation sector as an essential service. He recalled that by provisions of Labour Laws which Nigeria was a signatory and judicial pronouncements, it was an error to categorise aviation amongst essential services.

Wabba called for the removal of section 29 of the Civil Aviation Act and further argued that the move to redesignate the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria to Federal Airport Administration should be jettisoned.

He said: “We are here to shed more light on our position on the six bills before the Senate Committee on Aviation. The first item is about the provision in the law which tries to designate the aviation sector as an essential service. By our labour laws, which Nigeria is a signatory to, guarantees workers rights and core values. The sector cannot be designated as essential service because sectors that are designated as essential service are listed in the Nigerian Labour Law and the aviation sector was not part of it.

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“All provisions relating to the issue of essential service into the six bills being considered for review especially section 29 of the Civil Aviation Act should be expunged because it is actually in conflict with the existing provision of the labour law which is part of our international commitment to standards. The issue has been determined by the court that the aviation sector is not an essential service. I think the government is not aware of this, that is why it included it in the law.

“The second issue is that it is the usual practice to have social partners in key organisations. We have not seen any provision in the bill where the key unions that would actually address issues of industrial relations, issues of professionalism, and workers core interest are not accommodated in the bills.

“The provision of the interim boards in the bills of Aviation agencies is not in tandem with global best practices because at no point should we envisage that the board of such organisations would not be constituted. We were told that the boards were not constituted in the last four years due to conflict of interest. The use of interim board should certainly not be there.

“We are also against the use of nomenclature of FAAN from authority to administration. Most jurisdiction in the aviation sector all over the world retain authorities for agencies in their aviation sector as we have it in the USA, Canada, United Kingdom and other African countries. Removing authority from FAAN is not only suspicious but mischievous. An attempt to remove authority from FAAN can only suggest an attempt to remove the management of FAAN from possibly government control and ownership by the people. It would enable the promoters of concessioning to consummate their plans. It will take many Nigerians out of the labour market. In his response, Chairman of Committee, Smart Adeyemi, promised to look into the concerns raised by the NLC.






Aviation bills: NLC meets with Senate committee

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