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Minister’s ‘One Man Show’ Killing Aviation –Air Workers

Comrade Ben Nnabue
National President of NUATE, Comrade Ben Nnabue
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BEVERLY HILLS, May 01, (THEWILL) – The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has observed that the bane of aviation sector departments is the fact that the Ministry is run by one man.

National President of NUATE, Comrade Ben Nnabue,  who made the observation during his 2021 May Day address said the aviation union has persistently pointed out, the folly of “one-man-show” in the governance of the sector.

Nnabue lamented that, there have never been governing boards for all the agencies in aviation while the CEOs seem to be direct employees of the Minister of Aviation.

According to the Nnabue, 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 is extremely dangerous, preposterous and truly objectionable., regretting that the union’s protestations on the subject over the past years have fallen on deaf ears.

He said “that stakeholders in the industry have tolerated this circumstance for all of six years is quite honestly incomprehensible.

On the Aviation Ministry’s six-point agenda, Nnabue noted that the country failed in its attempt to birth a national carrier after over ten 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 leader, our Country has woefully failed in its attempt to birth a national carrier after over ten years of labour and colossal financial waste”.

“The proposed aircraft leasing company, national aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) facility and aerotropolis development, all flagship programs of this federal administration, have all suffered paralysis, despite massive support from all stakeholders and informed Nigerians. They all followed the same path; bitten by the bug of hidden agenda, suffered the ailment of ill-motive to death, presently in the coffins of infidelity to the national cause, and waiting to be buried in the grave of onemanism”.

Also Comrade Nnabue observed that in the public sector, the biggest challenges are the twin issues of the long delayed Conditions of Service and the non-implementation of the minimum wage for two years running.

According to him, in the private sector, the challenges are in wage cuts, redundancies, and leaves without pay (or with very little pay).

Whereas, the private sector challenges are direct outcomes of the pandemic, Nnabue hinted that the public sector issues have their root causes in heartlessness of the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission and the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation as the issue of Conditions of Service has been with the sector for upwards of seven years.

On the achievements 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 as 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.

The union also decried how the Federal Government intervention fund for the aviation sector was shared among aviation companies with no impact on aviation workers.

Other areas the union picked holes in the aviation industry are in the areas of selective airports concession , large numbers of aviation workers who remain on furlough leave, many of them with no pay, while many others receive as low as 20% of their salaries, etc.