The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika has intervened in the industrial action by the National Association of Air Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE, which paralysed activities at Bristow Helicopters.
Recall that the pilots union had on Wednesday threatened to ground the industry for two weeks should the company management refuse to recall the sacked pilots and engineers.
The management of Bristow Helicopters Limited on Tuesday said the decision to lay off about 100 pilots and engineers was because of plans to restructure the sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bristow’s sack of its workers came barely 24 hours after another airline, Air Peace, sacked over 75 pilots due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Abednego Galadinma, NAAPE President confirmed the development in a message issued in Lagos on Thursday.
Mr Galadinma, however, said the minister had pleaded with the unions to sheathe their swords, pending determination of a meeting at the instance of the Ministry of Labour in Lagos today.
Recall that while addressing newsmen in Lagos on Wednesday, Mr Abednego had called on the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, to call the airliners to order over their reckless sacking of pilots and engineers under the pretense of COVID-19 pandemic.
He said: “We call on Federal Government of Nigeria to speedily release the promised relief package for the airlines and other government agencies to further save jobs and businesses.
“We want to strongly advise that Airlines operators that insist on laying off workers should not benefit from the largesse.
“As a result of the known consequences of these illegal actions and our commitment to patriotic fervor, we shall be forced to withdraw our guarantee of industrial peace within the industry if this call is not heeded within two weeks.
“Our union will be left with no other option but to withdraw the services of pilots and aircraft maintainable engineers across the airlines
“We will no longer condone a situation where airline operators go to government for relief packages and in turn punish Nigerians in whose name government gave the relief.
“Our laws must be respected and our airspace must be save secured and stable. It is our responsibility and we are prepared to take action before it is too late.”