NUATE Threatens Caverton With Strike, Faults Foreign Airlines On Catering
The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has threatened to embark on a strike action against Caverton Helicopters over workers’ welfare.
In his Workers Day 2022 speech, the National President of NUATE, Comrade Ben K. Nnabue said: “Special mention must be made of the wicked regime in Caverton Helicopters. It is very apparent the owner and his son MD have chosen to enrich themselves by the blood of the employees if the airline. Salaries and other entitlements of workers are denied at will. Workers who are forced out of the company never receive their benefits as per Conditions of Service. All agreements entered into with our Union, and with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) under the mediation of the Ministry of Labour have all been kept in the breach. The owner and his son MD are clearly unfit, or too wicked, to have human beings work for them. I use this opportunity to charge all aviation workers to prepare for a mother strike action against Caverton Helicopters at a date to be shortly announced.”
Nnabue equally took a swipe on the foreign airlines over catering services. “We are presently battling the vexed issue of back catering by some foreign airlines. We are receiving the ears of NCAA on the matter, the reason we tarried on it in the last one month or so. We are definitely committed to seeing an end to the unwelcome act in the interest of local in-flight catering services companies,” he said.
He said NUATE had given “tremendous support to women and gender programmes, as well young workers’ programmes, even in the mist of scarce financial resources.”
“Equally significant is the returns from our organizing efforts. Heliserve and Lomatok global Services in Warri have joined the NUATE family while we are at concluding stages of unionizing about three other organizations. Nevertheless, this is still a far cry from where we want to be. Big local airlines continue to defy the law on free association and union membership, and the promise by the Honorable Minister of Labour for his intervention has not been kept. Therefore, we are left with our own devices to see to it that all aviation workers, particularly in Air Peace, Azman Air, Dana Air, etc are fully freed from slave labour this year,” NUATE stated.
Nnabue further said : “The twin big issues of Minimum Wage Consequential Adjustment and Conditions of Service for the aviation Agencies are currently raging. We stand firmly by the decision of workers not to accept continuing shifting of the goal post by government agencies on these issues. Therefore, this week has been set out for major decisions and subsequent decisive actions that will bring these issues to a foreclosure.
In similar vein, our union is unsatisfied with ongoing discussions around the big question of airports concession. We are unclear as to government’s actual response the demands of aviation unions on labour issues and many lapses in the concession program. In the coming weeks, important decisions will be made to chart a clear path towards ameliorating already stated demands of workers.
In like manner, we express our frustration at the dilly-dallying attitude of the BPE in attending to the negotiated redundancy benefits of ex-staff of SAHCO, a matter pending since 2009. Let me assure the affected ex-workers that the unions have gone so far and cannot retreat on the matter at this point. We are at the verge of final solution, failing which we shall take decisive actions towards seeking justice for the victims.
We use this medium to call on the Honorable Minister of Aviation to urgently review his Aviation Road Map. We hold the view that the projects under the Road Map require significant adjustments to harmonize them with current realities in the world of aviation and our national interest.
We also call on the Federal Government to urgently address the serious shortcomings of the newly commissioned international terminal at MMIA so as to put the terminal to use. It will be a major disservice of this administration should the terminal turn out to be a white elephant. This must be avoided at all cost.
As this is the season of national politicking, I want to urge all workers not to slack or be complacent. To do so will attract a heavy price of allowing those with less stake enthrone governments at all levels which may be anti-workers. For this reason, I seriously charge you all to take advantage of ongoing voters’ registration to ensure each of you is armed with your voters’ card, ready to perform your civic responsibility of voting at all the forthcoming elections.
At this point I wish to enjoin our union leaders at all levels to shun rumour mongering and eschew unnecessary divisive tendencies. We should all ensure that we receive information from only authorized or verifiable sources before dissemination or acting upon. This will stand our union in good stead and prevent undue ill will and recrimination.”