Saturday, 11 February 2017 13:51

Airport Closure: Government's plan in jeopardy as workers threaten strike over welfare

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), on Saturday threatened to withdraw their services at Kaduna airport should the Federal Government fail to prioritise their welfare.

"if we are relocating operation to Kaduna, what are the critical elements that will be involved in this operation? It is the workers. “Now, in 2016, we were being told that the Abuja airport will be closed for six weeks by March 8. “The government, through the parastatals, have not said anything about the staff welfare, in all the discussions that have been going on, said NUATE’s General Secretary, Mr Olayinka Abioye.

“If at the end of February nothing concrete is shown to the workers that they are going to get paid before they embark on that journey, we will ask our people to withdraw their services,’’ he said.

Abioye alleged that NUATE members in various aviation parastatals under the Ministry of Transportation, who had been engaged in ad hoc assignments in the past, had not been fairly treated in term of welfare. He added that the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), currently owed their members millions of naira in allowances. According to him,  “We have been talking about this and our position as a labour movement is that the government must come out to tell us specifically what it has in stock for the workers. “We believe in the growth of the industry, we believe in this operation and have also aligned ourselves that truly Abuja airport is due for comprehensive rehabilitation.

“As I speak with you, in NAMA, FAAN and NCAA, there are millions of naira that are being owed these esteemed members of staff in these organisations.

NUATE Scribe said that the unions were not involved in all the discussions on how the operation in Kaduna would succeed during the six weeks. He added that Kaduna airport lacked the required manpower for the operation, which according to him, makes it imperative that staff would be moved from Abuja airport. Another executive of the union in Abuja Airport, who pleaded anonymity, told pressmen that some of the members of staff that would be deployed for the operation were strangers to Kaduna. He added that considering the bad security situation in the state, workers that would be moved from Abuja to boost the operation needed to be adequately mobilised. 

British Airways, Lufthansa and South African airways say they are suspending Abuja flights until the airport reopens.

The airport will close for six weeks, from  March 8, to enable repairs while flights for Abuja will reroute to Kaduna airport.

 
Last modified on Saturday, 18 February 2017 17:28

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