NLC, TUC, others denounce ULC; NAMA insists Nigeria airspace remains open

The Nigerian Airspace Management Agency, NAMA, has dismissed the proposed strike threat issued by the United Labour Congress, ULC.

NAMA, after an emergency meeting with some aviation unions, said that the Nigeria airspace will remain open in spite of the ULC planned strike.

The meeting was attended by representatives of Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, ANAP, Aeronautical Information Services Association of Nigeria, AISAN and the National Association of Air Traffic Engineers, NAAE.

Earlier, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE and the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, ANAP, two aviation unions under the ULC, had notified the federal government that they would ground the Nigerian airspace beginning from Monday, September 18.

The unions said the threat would be implemented if their demands were not met before the proposed date.

The unions in a document jointly signed by the Secretary-General of NAAPE, Ocheme Aba and Secretary General of ANAP, Abdul Rasaq Saidu, decried an alleged withholding of the registration of ULC as a labour federation despite fulfilling all conditions stipulated by the law.

“As a result of the strike action, no flight will operate through Nigeria. We, therefore, advise all airport users to take note and make alternative travel arrangements,” the unions had said.

“Foreign airlines are equally advised to avoid flying into Nigeria until the matter is resolved to avoid unpleasant consequences.”

But representatives of other aviation unions after their meeting on Friday dissociated themselves from the strike.

The airspace managers noted that while NAAE denied membership of the United Labour Congress, AISAN and ANAP whose members are in NAMA have assured the agency of their decision not to join the strike.

The agency, therefore, reassured the public of full compliments of air navigation service provision throughout the period of the intended strike if it takes place.

Similarly, the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and Trade Union Congress, TUC, alleged that the group parading itself as the “United Labour Congress of Nigeria” has no legal right to call for the strike.

The ULC, on September 11 had issued a seven-day notice to the Federal Government over anti-labour activities and threatened to embark on an indefinite strike after the expiration of its initial 14-day warning strike which expired September 8.

But the NLC president, Ayuba Wabba, and his trade union counterpart, Bobboi Kaigama, said its initial plan was to ignore the purported ultimatum as a mere attention-seeking gimmick but had to intervene since the Federal Ministry of Labor had entered into correspondence with the group

Mr. Wabba said those behind the seven-day ultimatum were bent on blackmailing the government to register their association as a central labour organisation.

“We have no doubt that the officials of the federal ministry of labour will deal with the situation as the laws of the country governing labour relations are very clear on the procedure guiding registrations of trade unions and trade union centres,” the unionists said.

“Since their failure in March 2015 10th delegates conference of the NLC, these individuals have tried to use every tactic to destabilise the industrial relations scene in the country.

“First they tried to factionalise the NLC and for years were parading themselves as factional leaders of the NLC. When they realised they were largely ignored by Nigerian workers and the Nigerian people, at the beginning of this year, they dusted up the name of one of the four trade unions centers that in December 1975 voluntarily merged to form the NLC, and now purport to have become a new labor centre in the country called the United Labour Congress.

“Unfortunately for our erstwhile colleagues, they just collected forms for the registration of dozens of ‘shell trade unions without membership’ and rather than wait to get registration, they just proclaimed their existence, perhaps because they know very well that by extant laws the trade union act, and the trade union amendment Act, there was no way they could get recognition and registration for the dozen or so ‘shell unions’.”

On the possibility of the ULC carrying out its threat, Mr. Ayuba said the law prohibits any group that is not registered as a trade union to exercise the powers of a trade union, adding that the law will deal with such eventuality.


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