Aviation unions accuse Minister, issue 7-day ultimatum

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..as TUC demands sack of TCN MD

By Ojo Akinsola and Yemisi Ajayi, Ibadan

Over government’s interference, four aviation unions have accused the Minister of State for Aviation, Mr. Hadi Sirika of tampering with the organogram of Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and thereby denying some of the workers their right to grow in the system

The union at a congress held on Monday in the Safety House of NCAA of the Muritala Muhammed Airport (MMA) issued NCAA 7-day ultimatum to suspend the implementation of the organogram until issues raised were resolved.

They insisted that there was no going back on its plan to picket the regulatory agency in the in the next two weeks if the government did not reverse its decision on the organogram and the planned merger of directorates.

The unions include Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

The union leaders in a joint congress of the unions, said the new organogram does not encourage career progression, and promotes redundancy, adding that the secret employment racketeering into the organisation contradicts and endangers the nations Category One.

The unions also state that the Ministry of Aviation is in direct violation of the Presidential directive to constitute a governing board which promotes corruption.

The unions shutdown the headquarters of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), temporarily to protest the current imbroglio between them and the NCAA.

Speaking with journalists, the General secretary Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Comrade Abdulrasaq Saidu after the joint meeting at NCAA , said  “There are three major issues and that is why we have issued the NCAA 7 days ultimatum first, the NCAA and other aviation parastatals do not have a governing boards inaugurated by the Ministry and this is in violation of the Presidential directive and breeds corruption.

“Secondly, the organogram of the NCAA is tampered with as it has expanded and you cannot combine two directives and worse still the aviation industry has been flooded with un-viable recruitment. That is employment racketeering and this is threatening Category.”

The General Secretary, NUATE, Mr. Ocheme Aba, while addressing the workers said that the unions would resist all attempts by the minister to thwart the development in NCAA.

He alleged that Sirika doctored the agreement of the tripartite committee on the organogram, stressing that the attempt was against the growth of the workers.

The tripartite team, according to Aba, comprised the unions, NCAA management and the government.

He alleged that the new organogram returned to the management was entirely different from what was agreed with the committee, adding that it was skewed against the workers.

He explained further that some of the staff who were due for promotion since 2017 were yet to be promoted because of the obsolete organogram in the agency, stressing that the plan to merge some of the directorates was also illegal.

According to him, “There was a tripartite committee on the issue of the organogram of NCAA; the unions, NCAA management and the government , but all of a sudden, when the organogram returned to the management, what was presented to the team was entirely different from what was agreed upon.

“As it is, the organogram of NCAA has been messed up with what the management and the government just did. The unions will follow the due process in its action. We all know that strike or picketing is not a tea party. The staff are requesting for an ultimatum from us here now to ginger the management to take the right step.”

The Union also demanded that the Minister considers another committee to immediately review the recently approved NCAA organogram as the present document did not represent the outcome of the consultation and agreement reached between a Ministerial Committee and stakeholders in the meeting that held last year in Lagos.

At present, NCAA has nine directorates; Airworthiness, Licensing Standards, Operations and Training, General Aviation, Aerodrome and Airspace Standards, Finance and Accounts, Consumer Protection, Air Transport Regulations, Legal Services and Human Resources and Administration.

The directorates penciled down for merger were Consumer Protection, Licensing Standards, General Aviation, Aero Medicals and Legal Services.

In a swift response, the General Manager, corporate affair, NCAA Mr. Sam Adurogboye in a chat with Nigerian  NewsDirect, said it is a normal issue that would be resolved.  He stressed that the process of resolving issue is to call the unions for another meeting.

He noted that  the Director General, NCAA is not around, stressing that “when he arrived, there is going to be another meeting between NCAA and the unions.

“They are our staff and not outsider, it is a decision about policy matter not taking within NCAA but from the higher level and we will look at their claims again and forward it to the government,” he added.

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) has called on industrial unions and professional associations to sustain the prevailing industrial harmony in the system through peaceful and meaningful engagement with management.

Managing Director of NAMA Capt. Fola Akinkuotu who gave this charge during an interactive forum with aviation unions and representatives of professional bodies at the agency’s headquarters in Lagos said the call had become imperative as “no organization can thrive in an atmosphere of rancour and disharmony, hence the need for us to embrace peace both as management staff and representatives of unions.”

Capt. Akinkuotu also appreciated the unions for the cooperation so far enjoyed by his administration, even as he enjoined them to feel free to use both formal and informal channels to communicate with management on any issues requiring attention. “There are many instances where the boat could have been rocked but the unions or associations come together and we are able to resolve the issue or reach some kind of consensus and it has worked well for us,” he said.

The NAMA boss used the opportunity of the forum to caution staff over unnecessary and frivolous expenditure such as “incurring duty tour allowances (DTA) for flimsy reasons,” saying that the time had come for staff to apply moderation and minimize wastages to enable the agency  channel its resources towards more meaningful ventures.

Capt. Akinkuotu also decried the indebtedness of state aerodromes to the agency, noting that effort was being intensified to prevail on defaulting state governments to pay. On the issue of condition of service (COS) among other entitlements to staff, the NAMA helmsman said NAMA management was leaving no stone unturned to ensure that approval is given by government. He revealed that a meeting has been slated between NAMA management and relevant government agencies to hold before the end of May 2019 targeted at a final resolution of the issue.

Meanwhile, the Trade Union Congress (TUC), and  United Labour Congress (ULC)  clashed  in Ibadan on monday over the  Removal of the Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed.

The Trade Union Congress (TUC), Oyo State chapter acting on the directive of the Congress that directed her members to solidarize with the  workers of Transmission Company of Nigeria who have said to be subjected to inhuman treatment and ensure a total shut down of electricity transmission across the federation through picketing met Staff of the Company who belongs to ULC fully prepared for combat.

While addressing journalists, the Oyo State Trade Union Congress Chairman, Emmanuel Ogundiran, described the management of Transmission Company of Nigeria TCN under the leadership of Gur Mohammed as tyrant and call for his removal from office.

He also challenged Managing Director, Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN), Mr Usman Gur Mohammed to withdraw all scrupulous circulars on Labour matters and give account of the 735 containers cleared from the ports.

The TCN ground would have turned into a battle ground if not for the timely intervention of the Oyo state police command who swifted in to action immediately they received information that some of the TCN staff threatened to rost members of TUC alive.

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