The National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, on Friday shut down the offices of aviation agencies at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, over the delay in the release of their Conditions of Service.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the union is protesting the delay in the release of the Conditions of Service of all aviation agencies by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
The union members were seen at about 6.30 a.m. on Friday carrying different placards and chanting solidarity songs.
They barricaded the offices of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN, and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA.
Also shut down were the headquarters of the Accident Investigation Bureau, AIB, and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, at the Lagos airport.
However, the action did not affect flight operations at the nation’s busiest airport as airlines and passengers went about their respective businesses without harassment by the union.
The National President, NUATE, Ben Nnabue, told NAN that for quite a long time the workers and the management of the aviation agencies had signed the conditions of service but it had yet to be implemented.
“We have the Conditions of Service which is the agreement between the managements and the aviation union.
“The Conditions of Service stipulates that it should be reviewed every three years and since 2015 this Conditions of Service has expired and the renewal is not coming.
“However, we have actually agreed with the new Conditions of Service with our management and we have forwarded it to the Salaries and Wages Commission but for the past five years it has not been implemented.
“So consequently, the spirit and morale of the workers as a result of the non- implementation of the Conditions of Service are very low and we felt that we have gotten to a stage where we can no longer keep quiet.
“The union cannot just keep quiet because at a point, the aviation workers had felt that we had compromised and we have to provide leadership,’’ he said.
Mr Nnabue said after this protest, the union would embark on a total strike if the Salaries and Wages Commission failed to accede to their demands.
According to him, this is just a minor protest we are embarking on and if after today nothing happens, then we have to plan for a total strike for the whole of the industry.
The NUATE boss said the strike would not affect the operations of airlines as their management boards were already implementing the Conditions of Service.
He said: “The protest will not affect the airlines and ground handlers because we are already handling the Conditions of Service with their managements.
“Many of them have given us good Conditions of Service while others are at the point of signing it. At least 50 per cent of it has been implemented.’’