Again, Unions Threaten Aviation Agencies, Airlines over Workers’ Welfare

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Aviation industry unions have threatened another showdown with aviation agencies and airlines over the welfare of workers. The unions said their grievance was based on all sundry issues that affect the aviation industry, from the COVID-19 intervention fund, condition of services for certain agencies to minimum wage as well as relocation of headquarters of agencies. Therefore, it gave the agencies and airlines a two-week ultimatum to comply with labour laws or face the consequences of their action.

The unions include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), which in a press briefing on Wednesday insisted that despite the current meltdown in the industry, the organisations must take care of their workers.

The General Secretary NUATE, Ocheme Abba; Deputy General Secretary ATSSSAN, Frances Akinjole, and Secretary General of ANAP, Abdul Rasaq Saidu, in a statement tagged, ‘Aviation is in a State of Emergency’ said they were compelled to raise alarm about an impending implosion and looming crisis in the aviation industry.

The unions’ agitation with regards to relocation and the COVID-19 bailout funds was premised on timing and the current trend of borrowing among agencies to pay salaries, stating that the Minister did not heed any advice as this was neither the time or was there budgetary provision.

“We have variously protested the order given by the Hon. Minister of Aviation for the relocation of the Headquarters of FAAN, NAMA, NCAA and AIB from Lagos to Abuja at this time. While submitting to government the right to determine the appropriate location of its agencies (though there is ample room for debate on the matter), we have, however, pointed out to government the need to be circumspect in pursuing this particular objective at this particular time.

“We pointed at the present crisis of COVID-19, the absence of budgetary provision for most, if not all the agencies in the current budget cycle, the unavailability of office buildings in Abuja, the absence of any real pressure to do so, and other extenuating circumstances which we had hoped would cause a change of strategy to a more pragmatic approach.

“Unfortunately, our efforts in this regard have been to no avail. But, now the vexing issue of refusal of the various managements to engage with us on the labour implications of the relocation has become a new crisis point. The only exception to this is FAAN. We have a responsibility to the workers of these agencies to insist that their genuine rights and interests with regard to relocation are adequately protected. No one should expect that our Unions will shirk that responsibility,” it said.

On the COVID-19 Intervention Fund, the unions said the modalities for the intervention was yet to be known and aviation, the most negatively impacted by COVID-19 is yet to be impacted by these interventions.

Stakeholders Advocate Right Pricing for Ground Handling

Nigeria’s leading aviation ground handling companies; Aviation Handling Services (AHS), Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (Nahco Aviance) and the Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc have been urged to consider price adjustment in order to survive the effects of the pandemic.

A former Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Dr. Harold Demuren, made the call recently during a webinar organised by the Association of Aviation Ground Handlers (AGHAN).

The webinar titled, ‘The Impact of COVID -19 on the Nigerian Aviation Ground Handling Industry: Safety, Rates, Regulation,’ was well attended by key players in the aviation industry. Demuren, who was one of the panelists, emphasised that foreign airlines should pay the dollar equivalent for ground handling services rendered to it in order to ensure the survival of the Aviation Ground Handling companies.

In his opening remarks, Chairman of AGHAN, Mr. Olaniyi Adigun, who is also the Executive Director, Sales and Marketing of SAHCO Plc explained that AGHAN was created to represent, advocate policies and regulation for the overall interest of the members of the association. He stated further that the creation of AGHAN would foster an enabling environment to build and reach a consensus on critical aviation ground handling matters.

On his part, the Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer of the Accident Investigation Bureau of Nigeria (AIB), Akin Olateru, enjoined AGHAN to stop the price war. He encouraged the Aviation Ground Handlers to collaborate more and improve on their service delivery to airlines and other clients.

He also said SAHCO and NAHCO should synergise to get appropriate pricing for the services they provide. He enjoined ground handlers to improve on their service delivery by reducing turnaround time for carriers while also applying new innovation that will break the operational silos from the traditional primary services to innovative secondary and tertiary services.

Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer NAHCO Plc, Mrs. Olatokunbo Fagbemi in her remarks, called on all stakeholders to work together for the survival of the industry, according to her” the aviation industry is the worst hit by the pandemic, and by extension, the ground handling companies’’.

She stated that the time has come for stakeholders to fashion out a survival strategy, get the buy in and support of the regulators and above all seek and push for government interventions. According to her, ground handlers should be given national award for its efforts at sustaining the industry.

Skyward Loyalty Scheme to Reward More Members

Emirates Skywards members in Nigeria amongst other travellers world-wide can now enjoy over 1500 new ways to earn miles.

The loyalty programme of Emirates and flydubai introduced a thousand new ways to earn Miles, while shopping online with popular UK and US brands.
According to a statement, members can now visit the website, choose from more than 1,500 brands and splurge on shopping, while racking up Miles that can be used for discounted flight tickets and other rewards.

“In order to start earning Miles, the skyward member would have to shop online through the website which can be accessed on the Emirates app.

“Members can then browse through a list of fantastic offers across fashion, lifestyle and other retail stores. To shop from participating brands, log in using Emirates Skywards account details and continue to the partner brand’s website to complete the purchase.

“Emirates Skywards’ 27 million members worldwide can earn and spend Miles for an extensive range of rewards, including flight tickets on partner airlines, flight upgrades, hotel stays, tickets, hospitality at sporting and cultural events, tours and money-can’t-buy experiences,” it stated.

Emirates Skywards offers four tiers of membership: Blue, Silver, Gold and Platinum, with each tier earning exclusive privileges. Skywards Miles can be redeemed for an extensive range of rewards, including flight tickets on partner airlines, flight upgrades, hotel stays, tickets, hospitality at sporting and cultural events, tours and money-can’t-buy experiences.