Unions in the Nigerian aviation industry have opted out of the two-day warning strike called by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) over the removal of subsidy on fuel.
The reason for this is that the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has instructed its employees to resume work as usual, warning that failure to do so would be construed as sabotage of the ongoing International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Universal Safety Oversight Programme (USOAP).
The unions under the NLC in the sector; the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), said they won’t participate in the warning strike due to the ICAO audit, but insisted that they never attempted to sabotage NLC.
Comrade Abdulrazak Saidu, the General Secretary, of ANAP, on Tuesday said that the warning strike may affect the chances of Nigeria’s scaling the ICAO audit.
He said that the decision of the union to opt out of the two-day warning strike was taken after a review of the internal situation in the industry and its effect.
Saidu revealed that the union wanted to protect Nigeria from being sanctioned by the global aviation body.
He said, “The aviation union decided not to comply fully with the directive of the National Executive Council (NEC) of NLC so that the ICAO auditors already in the country would be able to carry out their assignment without disruption.
“NLC NEC has taken the decision and directed all affiliates to mobilize for the two-day warning strike beginning tomorrow (Tuesday). In line with the directive of the NEC NLC, we have issued a circular to that effect in the Aviation industry. However, after a wide range of consultations in that regard, and considering the volatile and international nature of the aviation industry and best practices, we have discovered that the warning strike will negatively affect the ongoing audit of aviation facilities in the country.
“Given this development, we cannot allow the disruption of the ongoing 10 days audit to cause Nigeria to be sanctioned by the international aviation body. Therefore, all normal activities, regarding Aviation business should continue uninterrupted.”
In addition, the Air Transport Staff Senior Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), said it would not be a part of the warning strike, saying its parent body, Trade Union Congress (TUC) was not ready for a strike.
The General Secretary of ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole, said that the leadership of the congress asserted that negotiations with the government had not broken down irretrievably.
He said that its members were encouraged to use their best endeavours to avoid every situation that could lead to friction among workers at workplaces.
He added, “This ugly division is not going to be a permanent phenomenon. We shall not allow decisions of the whole to destroy our solidarity in the aviation sector.
“Painfully, it is not our decision! We are not cowards!”
Moreover, the Director, Human Resources and Admin, NCAA, in a circular dated September 4, 2023, with the reference number: NCAA/DHR&A/03/1549/1/163 directed all members of staff of the agency to report to their duty post.
The circular warned that failure to comply would be taken as sabotage to the ongoing ICAO safety audit of the industry.