The three airlines in the center of Aviation crises in Nigeria, Air Peace, Bristow Helicopters and Turkish Airlines have been given two weeks to reinstate all their sacked workers or be picketed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).
President of NLC Ayuba Wabba on Friday said it was insensitive for the companies to sack the workers considering the “traumatic” effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“NLC condemns and rejects the recent sack of 100 pilots by Air Peace, 69 pilots by Bristow Helicopters and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) executives working with Turkish Air,” the statement read.
“We call on the management of Turkish Airlines, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to reinstate all the sacked workers within two weeks.
“It is very traumatic for workers who are still reeling from psychological and socio-economic difficulties imposed by the recent lockdown measures and are just savouring the joy of being able to work again to be slammed with sack letters.
“The sack of Turkish Airlines, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters workers is highly insensitive, callous, and unjust.
“During the good times, workers were the hands that created the profit and wealth. During bad times, we expect businesses to repay the faith and commitment of the workforce.
“As was done to the financial sector, we urge government to immediately release palliative support to the aviation industry.
“Clearly, we have a bumpy road ahead of us as the nation and the world recovers from the fallout of COVID-19. Workers are ready to play their part towards the restoration of full productivity and industrial normalcy but that can only be achieved in an atmosphere of mutual respect and sensitivity. Nothing else would suffice.”
The NLC also called for understanding on the part of workers, while urging them to take the issue of their rights seriously.
“Workers should insist on their rights to join unions. This is a safety valve. No employer is allowed by our laws to intimidate workers out of their constitutionally guaranteed rights to join trade unions,” Wabba said.
“As agreed between labour and employers’ association, social dialogue should be used to resolve industrial concerns instead of the current resort to unilateralism.”
The statement added that NLC will not hesitate to mobilize the weight of the entire Nigerian workforce to the premises of Turkish Airlines, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters, if its demands are not met.
Pilots and Engineers of these Airlines had notified of a suspension of services over the issue before the Aviation Minister asked them to sheate their swords pending the outcome of the dialogue between the organizations and the Ministry of Labor.
The Pilots and Engineers had obeyed the Minister and stopped their proposed strike.