The Minister of State, Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, in fulfilment of his promise to resolve labour issues concerning the welfare of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has met with the National Salaries Income and Wages Commission (NSIWC) to produce an improved conditions of service for staff of the agency.
Sirika, led the leaders of joint aviation unions to the Chairman of the Commission, Chief Richard Egbule, in Abuja at the weekend.
He said the move was in a response to the industrial action declared by the unions in the aviation sector to demand for new conditions of service among other things.
The unions had last Wednesday shut down activities at the offices of NCAA nationwide to press home their demands. The unions included the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP).
They were demanding among other things, the review of the staff conditions of service, returning to the original organogram of NCAA and inauguration of the board of the authority.
Sirika, told the NSIWC chairman that he came to urge the commission to speed up the process of delivering a new condition of service to the staff.
He said the move was necessary because of the essential nature of the services the staff renders to the nation, adding that embarking on industrial action was not good for the industry.
The minister explained that he had swung into action immediately on Wednesday by granting two of the three demands put forward by the union.
He explained that the issue of the condition of service was not within the purview of the ministry, hence the visit to the Commission.
“The good thing is that they are our workers and we have been working together and since they are part of us, we know their claims, and we know where it pinches because we have been there.
“We have dialogued with them and like the chairman of wages commission said, aviation unions are not known to be this restive, it is something uncommon, it is unusual.
“We appealed to them on Wednesday that out of the three demands, we would resolve two and that we were working toward the third one.
“They understood and left happily, but we heard that the staff back there in Lagos were unhappy with them and passed a vote of no confidence on them.
“We will appeal to them that what they are doing is an essential service,” the minister said.
The Chairman of the Commission, Egbule, however, assured the minister that the commission would take proactive measures toward producing a condition of service that would be acceptable. He said that the commission took issues that concerned aviation workers very serious, adding that the unions would be carried along throughout the process.
any rule anywhere, but our role as a board is to make it easy for people to comply and that is what we have been doing.
The Act provides that Nigerian independent operators shall be given first consideration in the award of oil blocks, oil field licenses, oil lifting licenses and all projects contracts (Section 3(1)) and also notes that there shall be exclusive consideration to Nigerian indigenous service companies which demonstrate ownership of equipment, Nigerian personnel and capacity to execute contracted work (Section 3(2)). For the purposes of the Act, a Nigerian company is defined as: “A company formed and registered in Nigeria in accordance with the provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act with not less than 51 per cent equity shares by Nigerians” (Section 106).