Aviation workers insist on strike, today


By Mathew Denis

Workers of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) under aviation unions yesterday insisted that there was no going back on their planned protest slated for today.

The unions said that the planned shutting down of the nation’s airspace was to press home their demand for the implementation of the approved salary scale endorsed by the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission.

The union’s position is contained in a joint press statement signed by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineer (NAAPE).

It was signed by Messrs Olayinka Abioye, Abdulkareem Motajo and Aba Ocheme on behalf of the three unions and released at the end of an emergency meeting of the workers on Sunday in Lagos.

They urged the public to discountenance the earlier statement from Supo Atobatele, the General Manager, Public Affairs of NAMA, whom they said was speaking for himself.

According to the unions, the meeting convened by the management of NAMA last Friday did not address the issue on ground to the satisfaction of the union’s agitations.

Atobatele had on Friday last week issued a statement saying the planned industrial action slated for Monday had been put on hold following a successful meeting between the union and management.

The statement quoted Atobatele as saying that the Friday meeting was expected to continue on Monday to further deliberate on issues at stake after the parties agreed that dialogue was the best way of resolving industrial crisis.

The unions said that Atobatele did not have the right to cancel an ultimatum issued by the unions to the effect that the planned industrial action in NAMA had been shelved arising from the so called successful meeting held by the parties.

The unions said all workers had been put on standby for the implementation of the action.

They added that they learnt that there would be a high level delegation on Monday at the Federal Ministry of Aviation, Abuja over the issue.

However, the management of NAMA yesterday reacted to the unions’ strike threat, saying there would be flight operations and that the nation’s airspace would remain open to traffic on Monday.

NAMA General Manager, Public Affairs, Atobatele, said this in a statement he issued to counter that of the aviation unions.

He assured all that the airspace would remain open “in spite of the unwarranted threat from some trade union leaders who have vowed in their cocoons to endanger safety and security within the nation’s airspace.”

The NAMA boss who quoted Nnamdi Udoh, the agency’s Managing Director as giving the assurance, also assured foreign airlines and urged them to continue to file in their normal flight plans without exercising any fear.

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