LEFT: Senator Hadi A, Sirika, Minister of Aviation being commended for a good job by President Muhammadu Buhari
Aviation workers in Nigeria have been reminded that labour is one of the largest costs to the industry and in view of the harrowing consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, every stakeholder needs to be mindful of sacrifices to be made to hasten the industry’s recovery trajectory while offering a shot in the arm to its growth.
It was also reiterated to the air transport senior staff workers that in the space of airline operations, profit is often of a low margin and when the indices reveal that lowering labour cost is an option for consideration, such conjecture often is met with a rabid resistance by the workers.
Hence, the workers were persuaded to realize that they need the industry as much as the industry needs them, and the trend globally “demands that all stakeholders work together to fashion out a viable pathway to a strong and healthy aviation industry that will offer everybody, including workers the desired dividend”.
Senator Hadi Sirika, Minister of Aviation, delivered this abridged tutorial to the Third National Delegates Conference, of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, held at the Conference Hotel, Ijebuode, Ogun State.
In the Minister’s speech which was delivered by the Commissioner/Chief Executive Officer, Accident Investigation Bureau, Engr Akin Olateru, Hadi Sirika, cautioned aviation unions against issuing threats and carrying out industrial actions over issues bordering on conditions of service.
The Minister said presently, “the sector is in a period of recovery, so this is not the time for threats and spate of industrial actions which will only further inhibit the growth the industry so badly needs”.
He however said that “the unions have a critical role to play in the growth and sustenance of the aviation industry, as their members constitute the majority of the workers who toil day and night to ensure the smooth running of the industry”.
The Minister emphasized that it is imperative for stakeholders to collaborate in order to maximize their potentials towards the actualization of the thrilling forecast by the International Air Transport Association, IATA.
He enthused, “IATA records show that as of 2018, air transport in Nigeria supported 241,000 jobs with a gross value added to GDP of US $1.7b. The forecast growth for the Nigeria Air Transport market was 174% in the next 20 years. If met, this would support approximately $4.7 billion of GDP and over 555,000 jobs”.
In the light of the glowing prospect by IATA’s forecast, Sirika appealed that every organization and individual within the value chain of air transport, “must all first work together to save aviation and keep the global supply chain going”.
He implored the workers’ leadership that, “our unions and aviation management should prioritize collaborative dialogue to ensure the industry’s financial health and the consequent preservation and growth which will eventually enable aviation employers to provide acceptable conditions of service to their workers”.
In essence, comrades in the struggle for better condition of service were told not to put the cart before the horse as the government, “shall continue to carry labour along in policies and strategic moves to reposition the industry”.
Sirika said the government was also expecting “the unions to reciprocate this gesture with a bit more consideration and support in the best interest of those both at the core and the ancillary arms of air transport”