Chinelo Obogo, Lagos
The Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) have directed the staff of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) currently on essential duties to withdraw all services on the 1st and 2nd June following the breakdown in negotiations on their welfare.
This is despite the management of NAHCO saying that they are currently engaging the unions to make sure the impasse is resolved without any industrial action.
A letter jointly signed by both General Secretary NUATE, Ocheme Aba and Deputy General Secretary Frances Akinjole read:
‘Following the stalemated management –union meeting of Wednesday 20th May 2020 where management attempted to unwittingly reduce to a mere technical excursion our magnanimity of toning down unions’ demand from 80% to 50% and further to our notice of the 21st May 2020, all NAHCO staff currently on essential duty are hereby directed to withdraw services on the 1st and 2nd 2020 as a warning to the management of NAHCO.
‘The situation will be reviewed after the second day to determine the continuation or otherwise. For the avoidance of doubt, we reiterate our stand that we shall accept 50% monthly salary for our members placed on unpaid leave as against senior management personnel who are paying themselves 80% of their own salary.
‘All staff must comply with this directive in our own self-interest.’
A close management source, however, explained that the ground handling company has always been prompt in everything they do, stating that the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the dynamics of things and has affected the company and many others adversely.
‘What the unions are asking for is an ongoing issue and we believe in collective engagement. We don’t and won’t toy with the welfare of our staff and we will not stop engaging with them to get the best solution.
‘With everything that has happened this year, embarking on an action that will further cripple the business that you want to get these benefits from will not help reach an amicable solution to the current situation we find ourselves,’ the source said.