NLC Threatens to Shut down Turkish Airlines, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has given the management of Turkish Airlines, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters two weeks ultimatum to reinstate all the sacked workers, else, will be shut down.
The President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, condemned the recent sack of 100 pilots by Air Peace, 69 pilots by Bristow Helicopters and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) executives working with the Turkish Airlines.
“We call on the management of Turkish Air, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to reinstate all the sacked workers within two weeks,” he said.
According to him, the agreement between labour and employers’ associations presupposes that social dialogue should be used to resolve industrial concerns instead of the current resort to unilateralism.
“We will not hesitate to mobilise the weight of the entire Nigerian workforce to the premises of Turkish Air, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters if our demands are not met,” he threatened.
Wabba lamented that the sack was traumatic for workers who were still reeling from psychological and socio-economic difficulties imposed by the recent lockdowns.
He said the sack of Turkish Airlies, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters workers was “highly insensitive, callous, and unjust’’.
Waba emphasized that the unilateral sack of executive members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) working with Turkish Airlines was particularly distressing.
He said, “These workers were sacked for fighting for the rights of Nigerian workers in Turkish Air. This is very reprehensible. We wish to remind Turkish Air that unionized workers cannot be punished or sacked for participating in trade union activities.
“This action is aimed at frustrating unionization in Turkish Air and to enslave Nigerians working with Turkish Air. The anti-labour practices in Turkish Air constitute fundamental infractions on our Constitution and labour laws and a gross disrespect to Nigeria.”
The labour leader averred that Section 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution guarantees freedom of association, including the right to join and participate in the activities of trade unions.
He stated further that Section 12, sub-section 14, of Nigeria’s Trade Union (Amendment) Act 2005 provides for voluntary membership of trade unions and stipulates that no worker should be victimized for joining a trade union or participating in the activities of a trade union.
“We posit that the sack of NUATE executives working with Turkish Air violates their human and trade union rights,” he stressed.
He lamented that it was unfortunate that the management of Air Peace had exploited the atmosphere of industrial tyranny in the company which had forbidden workers from joining trade unions to strike the fatal blow on the livelihood and career of the sacked workers.
He warned that the absence of unions in Air Peace would not stop NLC from fighting for the rights of the sacked workers and the unionisation of workers in the organisation.
He reasoned that during the good times, workers were the hands that created the profit and wealth, hence during bad times, labour expect businesses to repay the faith and commitment of the workforce.
Wabba called on the government to immediately release palliative support to the aviation industry as was done to the financial sector, stating that corporate Nigeria clearly have a bumpy road ahead as the world recovers from the fallout of COVID-19.
He said the workers were ready to play their part towards the restoration of full productivity and industrial normalcy, but insisted that this would only be achieved in an atmosphere of mutual respect and sensitivity.
He added, “We also call on all workers to understand that these are dreary times. Workers must take the issue of the defense of their rights seriously.(VON)