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NLC, NUATE, others plan picketing of airlines from today

Barring last minute change of mind, indications are rife that from today, Thursday, October 5, unions in the Aviation sector, led by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), would begin picketing of airlines notorious for casualisation of workers after series of warnings.

The idea for picketing is driven by the idea to enforce the operators’ compliance with labour unions’ demands which include end to casualisation of workers.

Feelers from the Muritala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos show that the unions may start with Dana Air to avoid total closure of the industry.

Before now, the airline had been issued a seven-day ultimatum, which expires on today, Thursday, to correct alleged “dehumanisation of workers, use of expatriate and failure to recognise workers’ unions.”

Leading unions including the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), will participate in the picketing exercise.

According to the General Secretary of NUATE, Olayinka Abioye, other airlines that may be affected include but not limited to Med-View Airline, Azman Air and FirstNation Airways.

He recalled that “October 7 every year has been declared World Day for Decent Work by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and this campaign is geared towards that.

“It is not only about welfare issues but it is about the refusal of the employers to recognise registered trade unions to allow them have access to the workers for the purpose of unionising them.

“The other critical aspect is that given the sensitive nature of the aviation industry, some of these airlines today have majority of the people working for them as contract or casual staff.

“That is a very dangerous thing to happen in the industry and we can no longer tolerate it,” Abioye noted.