The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers has disclosed plans to commence a nationwide strike in protest against the non-payment of the severance package of Aero Contractor Nigeria Limited’s sacked workers.
Aero Contractors had in March issued letters of redundancy to about 60 per cent of its total workforce.
The airline said it had been grappling with huge and unrealistic personnel costs as well as other operational challenges worsened by lack of enough aircraft to keep all the workers meaningfully engaged.
The association said the strike action would commence at a soon to be announced date after it finalised consultation with other aviation unions and stakeholders.
The National President, NAAPE, Abednego Galadima, said on Sunday that the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria, which took over the management of the airline, had yet to pay the sacked workers, five months after they were asked to go.
He added that in defence of the rights of the airline’s workers as well as in keeping with its duties and mandate under the law, NAAPE decided to declare a nationwide strike action in demonstration of its abhorrence of the inhuman treatment meted to the sacked workers.
“The association is inviting the government and other relevant bodies and stakeholders to prevail on AMCON to do the needful with regards to the rights of the workers of Aero Contractors in order to avert the imminent crisis of shutting down Nigeria’s aviation industry,” he said.
Galadima stated that the high level of unemployment of pilots and engineers in Nigeria suggested that to address the problem, the government needed to encourage or assist in the development of Maintenance Repair Organisations and give serious consideration to facilitating low interest capital and providing enabling environment for the industry to grow.
He also stated that the association would support the Federal Government’s effort to have a private sector national carrier and on the planned concession of four international airports, adding that this would create employment for pilots, engineers and other professionals in the industry.
A source within Aero told our correspondent that the non-payment of the severance package was due to lack of funds as the airline did not have enough money to pay the sacked workers.