A coalition of aviation workers’ unions have threatened to proceed with industrial action in the next 14 days if their demands are not met.
The workers will hold rallies today, September 12, at airports nationwide to protest anti-labour clauses in new aviation bills currently awaiting the assent of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The unions threatened that if their requests for withdrawal of the bills are not granted, they will proceed with industrial action in the next 14 days.
The coalition is made up of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and Amalgamated Unions of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE).
The union called the bill a subtle attempt to restrain the powers of unions and obliterate unionism in the aviation sector.
They alleged unknown persons in the sector inserted repressive clauses into new bills governing affairs of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and four other aviation agencies.
The contentious clauses state: “All services which facilitate and maintain the smooth, orderly and safe take-off, flight and landing of aircraft, embarkation and disembarkation and evacuation of passengers and cargo respectively in all aerodromes in Nigeria are hereby designated as essential services pursuant to the provisions of Section 11(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered).
“The minister may, by regulations, prohibit all or such class or classes of workers, officers and other employees or persons, whether corporate or natural, engaged in the provision of services specified in subsection (1) of this section from taking part in a strike or other industrial action.
“The provisions of the Trade Disputes (Essential Services) Act, Cap. T9, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 shall apply to service in the agency, facilities managed by the agency and in the implementation of this bill. There shall be no strikes, lock-outs, pickets, blockades, service disruptions, etc. of any kind within all facilities managed by the agency and where any labour dispute arises, such dispute shall be resolved by the agency.”