• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Labour to picket airlines over refusal to allow workers join unions

Airlines’ staff, touts cash in on plane shortage

Aviation labour body, the National Union of Air Transport Employee (NUATE) on Monday disclosed that it will soon picket offices of airlines operating in the country that have refuse to allow their staff to join trade unions of their choice.

This would affect flights operations across the country.

NUATE said it is against the labour law for some airlines to employ people conditioned upon not joining a trade union, while those who threaten workers with sack if they join the unions are violating the Nigerian laws.

Speaking at the ‘National Campaign for the Unionisation of Private Domestic Airlines in Nigeria’ at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport in Lagos on Monday, Ben Konye Nnabue, National President of NUATE, told the workers that the union has received the backing of the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) based in London in carrying out their actions.

Nnabue said at the last global labour unions conference held in Singapore, it was observed that a lot of organisations are not unionised, hence the mandate to ensure that ‘slave labour’ is eliminated in Africa.

He said “In Nigeria we have come to term with the reality that majority of our domestic airlines don’t want their workers to join unions. Others at the point of entrance warned their staff against joining any trade union of their choice.”

“We have been on this for the past five years. We have reported to the Ministers of labour and aviation. All of them have been promising us that something will be done but you can’t be following up a project for five years, it means that they want to do anything.”

According to the NUATE President “At the last meeting we had at the ITF, the ITF is in full support of our action today, they also sent their regional Secretary, Itsafianu to come and monitor the process and also Dayo was sent from London to come see what we are doing about it. That shows how serious the global body views the decisions of our airlines not to allow their workers to join the trade unions.”

He warned that “This is the last olive branch we intend to extend to them. The next time, we will have to use what the law allows us to do, we will picket them. But we have to exhaust all the channel of dialogue first then we are at liberty to use the last resort which is to picket those organisations.”

Also speaking, Ocheme Aba, NUATE General Secretary, affirmed that it will be in the good interest of airlines and organisations in the aviation sector to allow their workers to join the labour unions, affirming that no airline that allowed their staff to join trade unions have gone under.