Aviation unions have issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government (FG) in response to what they claim are anti-labor clauses in recently amended aviation bills.
The aviation unions claim that clauses inserted into the bills give the Minister of Aviation veto power over issues affecting trade unions in the industry.
Aviation unions urge FG to dismiss clause
They asked the FG to remove the clauses, claiming that they were an attempt to silence and control unions.
One of the clauses reads, “All services which facilitate and maintain the smooth, orderly and safe take-off, flight and landing of aircraft, embarkation and disembarkation and evacuation of passengers and cargo respectively in all aerodromes in Nigeria are hereby designated as essential services pursuant to the provisions of Section 11(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as altered).
“The Minister may by regulations, prohibit all or such class or classes of workers, officers and other employees or persons whether corporate or natural, engaged in the provision of services specified in subsection (1) of this section from taking part in a strike or other industrial action.”
However, the unions claim that the clauses violated international labor laws and amounted to a usurpation of the Ministry of Labour’s responsibilities.
Workers held peaceful protests in some airports across the country to express their grievances and press their demands for the “removal of obnoxious essential services clauses from aviation agencies’ bills/acts.”
Some carried placards imploring the President not to sign the bills. Other placards read, among other things, “Our voices must be heard” and “Prohibition of Aviation Union activities is evil.”
During the protest in Lagos, Ocheme Aba, the General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, stated that classifying aviation workers as essential services personnel contradicts the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) classification.