NUATE, Air Peace, other airlines heading for showdown over unionization

By Adegboyega Oni

Air Peace, AZMAN, Dana and other major airlines in the country and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) may be heading into a cul de sac in 2020 over the failure of the airlines to allow their workers to join the union.

However, the NUATE has vowed to stop the anomaly by taking the fight to the doorsteps of these airlines, to end the anomaly.

Comrade Ocheme Aba, the NUATE General Secretary, disclosed this in an exclusively interview on the state of the aviation industry in 2019 with PortNews in Lagos.

Comrade Ocheme Aba noted that in 2019 aviation workers particularly those working in private establishments did not find it easy as their company managements were extremely difficult to negotiate with thus depriving the workers the opportunity to unionize to fight for improved conditions of service.

He noted that on the side of the government things were stable as the union was able to negotiate with a few agencies for improved conditions of service for its members except the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) where negotiation is still in the process.

According to the NUATE scribe, ‘’2019 was a mixed bag for aviation workers and the industry. Business was relatively steady as there was no distortion as the foreign exchange (forex) was stable. But for workers, things were very tough. Many private concerns especially were exceedingly difficult to deal with as many of them did not allow their workers to join the union.

‘’Situation on the side of the government was stable as the union went through negotiations with some of the government agencies and got a good result in terms of improved conditions of service for its members. However, we are yet to be through with the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) as the process for conditions of service of their workers is still ongoing.

‘’Air Peace, AZMAN, Dana and other airlines whose workers are yet to be unionized will be unionized this year. We expect a major fight; nothing will stop it as our parent body, the Nigeria Union of Labour (NLC), has declared full support to end the anomaly. All outstanding conditions of service must be completed early in the year.’’

Comrade Aba, on the prospect of the industry in 2020, said ‘’business will definitely improve in the year as all indices have shown and more investments will be attracted into the industry when all the airports under reconstruction are completed.’’      

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