NiMet Management Criticises Aviation Unions over Strike

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By Kasim Sumaina

The management of Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NiMet) on Friday insisted that there was no justification for the threat of going on strike by the joint union of workers.

NiMet noted that most of the sundry issues on which the Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals and the National Union of Air Transport Employees hinged the strike on had either been addressed or currently being attended.

It said the strike would distract the agency’s attention in pursuing its noble goals.

A statement made available to Journalists in Abuja by Director, Public Affairs, Ministry of Aviation, Mr. James Odaudu, noted that in a letter sent to the Unions by the Director General of NiMet, Prof. Sani Mashi, the unions were well represented at the resolutions reached in March 2019 by the Ministerial Committee on the Harmonisation of Salaries of Staff in Aviation Agencies.

The statement added that the salary adjustment for NiMet staff was discussed and resolved at the Committee and the Ministry of Aviation had presented it for further action to the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.

According to Mashi, “The Ministry was exclusively charged with the task of handling the matter with the commission. And on the issue of the payment of promotion arrears, the Unions should know that it is the Office of the Accountant General of the Federation and not the Agency that is responsible for the payment of these arears and the Management of the Agency has been consistently pursuing the matter with the Account-General’s Office through contacts with the relevant Departments.”

The management further stated that on the issue of palliative, the “Agency’s Department of Accounts & Finance have computed and paid monetary compensation to all Staff on essential duty. As at last week, only one (1) week palliative was in arrears and this has been settled this week.”

“Implementation of minimum wage, it’s a known fact that the Agency does not pay its Staff salary. The Federal Government, through the Office of the Account General of the Federation, pays such salaries to Agency’s Staff.

“On the issue of lateral conversion, the management wishes to state that it is not true that the Agency is “denying lateral conversion to staff on professional cadres who graduated after attaining grade level 10…,” as posited by your Unions. However, in 2016 when the Agency’s Senior Staff Committee recommended for the lateral conversion of Officers on Salary Grade Level 10 and above, the Ministry of Aviation stepped it down on the grounds that the Agency’s practice contravenes Extant Rules and Regulations”.

“In giving importance to training of staff, the management in 2019 developed a guideline to standardize and formalize requests for study leave for diploma, undergraduate, post graduate diploma and post graduate programmes. As a matter of policy and practice the issues of training and retraining of staff have been taken seriously.”

The management said it wishes to categorically state that it had been doing all within its power to positively ameliorate all the sundry issues raised by the Staff and all the Unions in the Agency.

Mashi stated that the agency, however, recognises and respect the constitutional provision for the freedom of association of the citizen and enjoined the Unions to equally respect the sanctity of the law.

“The management therefore call on all the staff, in consideration of the rule of law, to immediately discountance the call for the strike,” it said.