AVIATION unions under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) today joined the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC)to press home their demand to the Kaduna State Government by shutting down the Kaduna Airport in compliance with the strike action declared organised labour in the state.
The Kaduna airport workers’ strike kicked off at midnight on Sunday, 16 May 2021 and ran from midnight to midnight on Friday, 21 May 2021. As part of the strike, workers barricaded the gates, chanting solidarity songs.
Union officials claim the reason wasn’t unconnected to flouting the civil service laws and unconstitutional dismissal of civil servants before they were required to serve 35 years or reach the 60-year retirement age.
According to the First Vice-President of NUATE, Comrade Salisu Lawal, representing the national president, NUATE is joining the strikeout of solidarity with Kaduna state workers because one injustice is an injustice for all.
According to labour laws, if you sack more than five people, you have to sit down and negotiate. He first sacked over 2, 500 local government workers and according to those laws, he had to sit down and discuss how to pay them redundancy, but they didn’t do that.
Comrade Lawal questioned why Kaduna, which has one of the highest Internally Generated Recurrent Fund (IGRF), was not doing what was right, stating that solidarity would continue until there was another directive from the NLC.
Comrade Ocheme Aba, NUATE General Secretary, who joined efforts at the action in Kaduna added, “What is important is when your wife and children ask why you are doing this, you are able to explain.” The Kaduna state government has violated several laws Section 20 of the Labour Act which provides that if you are going to declare workers redundant compulsory, first of all, you must show good reason why you want to carry out the redundancy and second if you show good reason, and their unions agree with you then you must negotiate their redundancy benefits.
“You pay the terminal benefit, then you pay the negotiated redundancy benefits, so he has not done anything of that. Terminal benefits are already defined by the terms and conditions of service. They’re not subject to negotiation. He has not paid terminal benefits. He has not paid anyone of them.”
“He violated public service rules that stipulate that a worker is entitled to work for 35 years or until the age of 60, whichever comes first”.