NIGERIA LABOUR CONGRESS CONDEMNS AND REJECTS THE SACK
OF WORKERS BY TURKISH AIR, AIR PEACE AND BRISTOW
The Nigeria Labour Congress condemns and rejects the recent sack
of 100 Pilots by Air Peace, 69 Pilots by Bristow Helicopters and
NUATE union executives working with Turkish Air. It is very
traumatic for workers who are still reeling from psychological and
socio-economic difficulties imposed by the recent lockdown
measures and are just savoring the joy of being able to work again to
be slammed with sack letters. The sack of Air Turkish, Air Peace and
Bristow Helicopters workers is highly insensitive, callous, and unjust.
The unilateral sack of executive members of the National Union of
Air Transport Employees (NUATE) working with Turkish Airline is
particularly distressing. 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.
Section 40 of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution guarantees freedom of
association including the right to join and participate in the activities
of trade unions. Furthermore 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.
On the case of the sacked pilots and other categories of workers by
Air Peace, we state that it is unfortunate that the management of Air
Peace has fully exploited the atmosphere of industrial tyranny in Air
Peace which forbids workers from joining trade unions to strike this
fatal blow on the livelihood and career of the sacked workers. The
Nigeria Labour Congress warns that the absence of unions in Air
Peace will not stop NLC from fighting for the rights of the sacked
workers. We will fight for the reinstatement of the sacked workers
and for workers’ unionization in Air Peace. Enough is Enough.
We deplore the offering of poor workers as the sacrificial lambs by
unscrupulous business owners. During the good times, workers were
the hands that created the profit and wealth. During bad times, we
expect businesses to repay the faith and commitment of the
workforce. As was done to the financial sector, we urge government
to immediately release palliative support to the aviation industry.
Clearly, we have a bumpy road ahead of us as the nation and the
world recovers from the fallout of Covid-19. Workers are ready to
play their part towards the restoration of full productivity and
industrial normalcy but that can only be achieved in an atmosphere
of mutual respect and sensitivity. Nothing else would suffice.
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.
Workers should insist on their rights to join unions. This is a safety
valve. No employer is allowed by our laws to intimidate workers out
of their constitutionally guaranteed rights to join trade unions.
We call on the management of Turkish Air, Air Peace and Bristow
Helicopters to reinstate all the sacked workers within two weeks. As
agreed between labour and Employers’ Association, social dialogue
should be used to resolve industrial concerns instead of the current
resort to unilateralism. We will not hesitate to mobilize the weight of
the entire Nigerian workforce to the premises of Turkish Air, Air
Peace and Bristow Helicopters if our demands are not met.
Comrade Ayuba Wabba, mni