August 2, 2021

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Nahco workers to begin warning strike Monday, Tuesday, 18TH & 19TH MAY

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The National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, have jointly declared a two-day warning strike on 18th and 19th May, against the management of Nigeria Aviation Handling Company Plc, NAHCO, over what the unions described as “surreptitious declaration of redundancy without recourse to section 20 of the labour act”

In the unions’ initial reaction to NAHCO’s management letter advising the staff to proceed on their annual leave without pay until the impact of COVID-19 subsides and business rebounds, the unions said they had reached out to the management of NAHCO vide a letter dated 4th May in which they frowned at the posture of the management that it was taking the workers for a ride and that labour relations had been turned to a master-servant relationship which the unions abhorred in all its entirety.

The union argued that it was the responsibility of the employer to saddle her employees with the tasks to perform and whenever the employer could not provide a task for the employees, the burden of salary and personal emolument of staff remain the responsibility of the employer.

Mrs Tokunbo Fagbemi, Group Managing Director, NAHCO, Lagos, Nigeria

Succinctly put, the unions demanded the withdrawal of the management letter which they said in a subtle manner, declared the workers redundant and in the same vein demanded the “reversal of its content unconditionally”.

In the unions’ letter to the management of NAHCO Plc which was jointly signed by Comrade Aba Ocheme, General Secretary NUATE, and Comrade Frances Akinjole, Deputy General Secretary, ATSSSAN, the unions said: “should you fail to heed this legitimate demand within 7 days hence, we shall take any further steps we deem fit to enforce the rights of the workers under their terms of employment”.

However, as at 14th May 2020, according to the unions’ scribes, every overture made to NAHCO management for an amicable resolution of a seeming impasse was rebuffed and the 7-day ultimatum expired on 12th of May, the unions had no option but to call for a warning strike.

Hence, the scribes said their members had been duly informed to observe a two-day warning strike scheduled for Monday, 18th of May and Tuesday, 19th of May, by withdrawing their services.

The unions in their letter to members gave two conditions by which the warning strike may not hold; {1} “All workers presently performing a 24-hour work schedule without going home (which effectively makes them slaves) are returned to normal 8 hours work schedule or make some form of adjustment with adequate compensation”.

The second conditionality by the unions’ leadership in order to avert the strike is that; {2} “management reaches a formal agreement with our unions as it affects the employees presently condemned to stay at home without salary”.

The unions’ statement further directed members that, “all should note that the industrial action of 18th, 19th will be carried out in full compliance with COVID-19 health guidance and protocols. All workers presently at home should stay at home please”

NTH reached the management of NAHCO on the effort if any, towards the resolution of the impasse and averting the proposed strike, the Head of Corporate Communications, Sam Akinrinmade, responded that “We are currently engaging the unions. We are hopeful of a peaceful resolution”.

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