A member of the one of the aviation unions, Femi Ajagbe singing solidarity song. Photo Credit: Nosa Aituamen/Radio Nigeria.
Aviation Unions have given the government until Friday, April 21 to response to their demands and if nothing is done, they will embark on an indefinite strike.
In an interview with Radio Nigeria at the end of a two-day warning strike in Lagos, the Secretary General, National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba said, they have exhausted all options on the matter and their next line of action would be taken without looking back.
He however noted that, there had been series of meetings called by the Director General, Civil Aviation, Captain Musa Nuhu along with other heads of aviation agencies and representatives of the ministries but nothing concrete had been achieved.
According to him, the only assurance given by the ministry and aviation agencies was that their office buildings in Lagos would not be demolished until workers are given their entitlements for relocation and that the salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission was working to determine if the increase in salaries could be accommodated.
”At this point we wait for government and its agencies particularly salaries, incomes and wages commission, the head of the civil service of the federation to do the needful in respect to the condition of service, outstanding 4 agencies and also the ministry of finance as regards payment of the consequential adjustments for NiMet and if we don’t get anything, instead of warning strike which had already been done, we will now have an indefinite strike. The format, shape of that strike, we will sit down and take a decision and we will wait till friday this week and if we don’t hear anything, by monday we will be meeting to decide our next line of action”. he said.
While describing the just concluded two-day warning strike as successful, Comrade Aba appealed to the relevant authorities to avert the impending indefinite strike to avoid cutting off Nigeria from the rest of the world by air.
In a related development, the Director General, Civil Aviation, Captain Musa Nuhu said, a meeting had been held with the National Salaries Incomes and Wages Commission and they are currently examining their various account books with a view to determining whether or not the increase in salaries being demanded could be accommodated in their various Internally Generated Revenues (IGRs}.
Captain Musa Nuhu said, the outcome of the meeting will be forwarded to the Head of Service of the Federation for consideration and approval and pleaded for more time and understanding from the Unions.
Suspend strike, demands will be met soon — FG to Aviation Union
The Federal Ministry of Aviation has appealed to the unions to sheath their sword as the National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission was already carrying out assessments and will soon conclude.
In a statement earlier on Monday, Oluseyi Odutayo, Head of Press and Public Relations of the Ministry of Aviation, said before commencing the strike, the unions should have met with the management of agencies for alternative accommodation to all affected offices.
It described the strike as unnecessary due to the hardship on citizens, affected flight schedules, leading to economic losses.
On the consequential adjustment of the minimum wage for staff of the Nigeria Meteorological Agency NiMet, he said it had been finalized and would be paid soon.
According to the statement, the Ministry warned that, it will view seriously the behaviour by any Union that is likely to lead to a breakdown of law and order at airports.
He assured that the Management of the Ministry of Aviation was open to continuous engagement with the Unions to improve their welfare, stressing that, this can only be done in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect.
Meanwhile, the Union did not budge as the warning strike entered day two on Tuesday, despite the federal government plea,
Members of the Unions again gathered at the local wing of the Lagos airport, in a procession to the International Airport.
At the new international airport terminal, the union leaders took turns to address the workers vowing not to relax until their demands are met.
Reporting by Nosa Aituamen; Editing by Julian Osamoto, Adeniyi Bakare, Chinasa Ossai and Annabel Nwachukwu