The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), has identified what it called a “one-man-show’’ as the bane of the aviation sector in the country.
Comrade Ben Nnabue, the National President of NUATE, made the remark in his May Day address, on Saturday in Lagos.
Nnabue said the union had persistently pointed out “the folly of one-man-show in the governance of the sector’’, adding that there had never been governing boards for agencies under aviation.
According to him, with the minister being the chairman of all the so-called Interim Boards, the affairs of the entire aviation industry has been contrived to be totally in the hands of one man.
The labour leader noted that such situation was extremely dangerous, preposterous and truly objectionable, adding that the union’s protests on the subject over the past years had fallen on deaf ears.
He said: “That stakeholders in the industry have tolerated this circumstance for six whole years is quite honestly incomprehensible.”
On the aviation ministry’s six-point agenda, Nnabue noted that the country had failed to birth a national carrier after more than 10 years of “labour and colossal financial waste
“Whereas a state government, Akwa Ibom, has since successfully launched its own airline without any fanfare, which is fast becoming the industry’s leader, our country has woefully failed in its attempt to birth a national carrier after these years.
“The proposed aircraft leasing company, national aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and aerotropolis development, all flagship programmes of this federal administration, have all suffered paralysis, in spite of massive support from all stakeholders and informed Nigerians,’’ he said.
Nnabue also observed that in the public sector, the biggest challenges were the twin issues of the long delayed conditions of service and the non-implementation of the minimum wage for two years.
According to him, in the private sector, the challenges are in wage cuts, redundancies and leaves without pay (or with very little pay).
On the achievement of the union so far, Nnabue said “under my leadership however, the private sector issues are being confronted head on through pragmatic, systematic and strategic trade union practice that focuses on measurable results.
“It is to the credit of our approach that today, the only visible signs of crisis are in Turkish Airlines and Arik Air.
“While we acknowledge that serious industrial relations situations exist in practically every branch of the union, we cannot fail to see the fact that these issues are being doggedly curtailed through the efforts of the National Secretariat working assiduously with NAC and the branch leaderships.
“While we look forward to the resolutions of the Turkish Airlines and Arik Air imbroglios in the next few days, we cannot but call on all NUATE structures nationwide to be on red alert.
“Any further slip-ups by the managements of these organisations will definitely amount to taking us for a ride and will attract counter measures from the labour movement with maximum force,’’ Nnabue stated.
He, however, said that the Federal Government intervention fund for the aviation sector was shared among aviation companies with no impact on aviation workers.
The president also decried the selective airports concession, such as large numbers of aviation workers on furlough leave with no pay, while many others receive as low as 20 per cent of their salaries. (NAN)