The aviation industry’s Associations/Unions have suspended a nationwide industrial action billed to commence February 8.
Sen. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Employment, said this while briefing newsmen at the end of a conciliation meeting in the early hours of Tuesday in Abuja.
It will be recalled that the aviation workers under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), had threatened to withdraw their services by Feb. 8, over poor welfare and unimplemented agreements with the government.
Ngige said the two demands of the unions were non-implementation of the minimum wage consequential adjustment in the Aviation Parastatals since 2019 and the non-approval/release of the reviewed conditions of service in the parastatals.
He said a Memorandum of Settlement (MOS) was reached between the aviation workers and the Federal Ministry of Aviation.
Ngige said some resolutions were reached after exhaustive deliberations on the issues which the parties agreed as germane.
“The National Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission (NSIWC), was requested to issue a service-wide circular informing all organisations in the public and private sectors that they are bound to implement the National Minimum Wage of 2019/consequential adjustments.
“The Ministry of Aviation is to circulate the circular on the consequential minimum wage adjustment to all the agencies under the supervision of the ministry.
“It should also request them to implement the National Minimum Wage consequential adjustment without any further delay and also clarify that this payment became effective from April 18, 2019, when the Minimum Wage was signed into law,” he said.
Ngige said the meeting agreed that those that had exited the system during the period from April 18, 2019, to date, would also be paid the arrears.
He added that the meeting agreed that some categories of workers in the Aviation Sector attracted some peculiar allowances, which were not extended to others.
“The meeting also said those salary structures that are not captured in the Memorandum of Terms of Settlement signed and dated 9th, 14th, 15th 16th, 17th and 18th October 2019 between the Federal Government and organised labour on the consequential adjustment of the other wages, would attract consequential adjustment.
“This is as agreed during the negotiations of the Federal Government with the labour centres – The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria in October 2019,” he said.
Ngige said the meeting concluded that all the agencies that had not paid the minimum wage allowances should write to the NSIWC through the Ministry of Aviation for consideration/evaluation.
He said NSIWC promised to process all as soon as possible and consequently, the parties agreed that the consequential adjustment of the New Minimum Wage of 2019 based on the approved government templates should be implemented on or before the end of the first quarter of 2022.
Regarding the non-approval/release of the reviewed conditions of service (CoS) of the agencies under the Aviation Ministry, Ngige said the meeting noted that the issue was a protracted one, has been ongoing for about nine years.
He said the meeting charged the management to take more proactive steps to conclude the review of the conditions of service to boost the morale of the workers and retain the best technical staff in the industry.
“The meeting was informed that the financial implication of the conditions of service (CoS) for Nigerian Meteorological Agency (NIMET) has been approved by the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS).
“That hence the whole process for NIMET has been concluded except for hazard allowances, which would be reconsidered by NSIWC on a sectoral level. Hence, the NSIWC is to release this approved CoS immediately.
“The meeting, however, noted that the CoS for Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) require establishment input and directed the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation to update the Ministry of Aviation on this aspect of their CoS by Feb. 1.
“They should also copy the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. The meeting, however, agreed that the financial aspect of NAMA and NCAA would be resolved by the PCS by the third week of February,” he said.
Ngige further said the meeting was also informed that the CoS for Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) had been released since 2019.
He added that there were, however, establishment issues that had been observed and would be forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Aviation by the Management of FAAN for transmission to the OHCSF for urgent action.
He promised to urgently look into the additional issue introduced by the associations/unions, bothering on the right of workers to freely associate with a Trade Union within the Aviation Industry as stipulated in the Trade Unions Act. Cap 714 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 by the Airline operators.
He said they agreed that by the end of the first quarter of 2022, the Aviation Ministry should ensure the approval, release and implementation of the renewed CoS for all the workers in the agencies under the Aviation Ministry. (NAN)