The Nigerian government has claimed that it has met with airline worker unions to avoid a strike that would disrupt the country’s aviation industry.
After meeting with the chiefs of aviation worker unions, Labour Minister Chris Ngige revealed this.
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) have vowed to go on strike on February 8th over poor working conditions and unimplemented government agreements, according to NUATE and ANAP.
The Minister applauded the aviation worker unions for issuing the Ministry a required warning.
“As a result, you had no choice but to exacerbate the situation by delivering an ultimatum to shut down the whole airspace. I notice that all of you, both traffic controllers and engineers, are present”.
“We anticipated there could be some gaps in the airspace, but I see that you’re all working together.”
“I can assure you that we will reach agreements here, some of the agreements will be reached in a flash, and we will get back to them.” He spoke.
He went on to say that the union and the Aviation Ministry had set March 31 as the deadline for the completion of their conciliation agreement, and that he was aware of their grievances and had contacted all stakeholders, including the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) and the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
He went on to explain that he had addressed the matter with President Muhammadu Buhari, who, he claims, does not feel that a worker is not entitled to his pay in terms of salary and allowances.
“The government will pay some allowances that have not been fine-tuned, once fine-tuned, because the President was a salary earner during his military tenure.”
”If you cannot pay all, the Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations allow you to do ability to pay at the time in question so that you can stagger payment. But, we will agree on things today, put timelines on them and it will be done,” Ngige said.
Mr Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, who said the worker union agitations were lawful, however, described the agitation as something in-house between the ministry and its parastatals.