Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
A concerned group of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has written a petition to the Federal Government and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the neglet of Nigerian Pilots and Aircraft Engineers currently working for Caverton Helicopters Nigerian Ltd.
The company is an indigenous helicopter service provider supporting oil and gas industry in Nigeria.
In the petition signed by Bola Yusuf on behalf of the group titled ‘Caverton helicopters: Imminent Aircraft Accident/Disasters Due to Caverton Management’s Unfair Treatment of its Staff’, he alleged that Caverton does not apply principles of justice and fairness in the manner it treats Nigerian Pilots and Engineers.
According to the petition, ”Salaries are delayed for several months, the conditions of service as signed by the union and management are not respected due to its ‘take-it-or-leave-it principle.”
It added that Caverton deducts pensions and taxes from staff without remitting them to the pension fund and government despite deductions shown on pay slips.
Yusuf lamented that while expatriates in the Shell contract receive their pay on time, their Nigerian colleagues are owed several months’ salaries, saying this is sheer discrimination and creates a feeling of inferiority.
He described the situation as modern day slavery.
He further alleged that the company is reluctant in honouring agreements made with staff, generally creating a working environment of fear and apprehension within the workforce.
According to him, Nigerian Pilots and Engineers working in Caverton are right now frustrated and “we should take cognisance of the risk this could pose to the industry.”
He added that in August 2016, Caverton declared some Nigerian Pilots and Engineers redundant and issued them letters of redundancy without concluding the required redundancy negotiations with the union before going ahead to send them home.
“The result is that the Pilots and Engineers got far less benefits than they were due because Caverton cut corners.
”The stress being experienced right now by the Nigerian Pilots and Engineers is capable of causing catastrophic disaster, the scale of which cannot be predicted at this time. The situation should not be overlooked by stakeholders of aviation in Nigeria,” Yusuf warned.