The minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has expressed sadness over what he called the incessant strikes that unions embarked upon in the sector in the recent past, wondering the motives behind such strikes.
Speaking through the director of Human Resources in Management at the ministry of aviation, Mrs Nkechi Nwokocha at a conference with the theme:
‘Re-Inventing Trade Unionism for Sustainable Growth and Development in the Nigerian Aviation Sector’, Sirika cited how he had over the years been working with the unions to develop the sector.
Sirika who wondered why the unions had chosen to embark on strikes incessantly, emphasized how the Ministry of Aviation and the various managements in the sector had been working harmoniously with the unions since the government came onboard in 2015.
Speaking through Nwokocha on Wednesday in Lagos during the opening ceremony of the three days conference jointly organised by the Federal Ministry of Aviation and the Joint Aviation Trade Unions Forum (JATUF), Sirika said rather than embark on endless strikes, that there should be dialogue between the managements and the unions to resolve industrial matters in the sector.
While calling for paradigm shift from the unions on how they deal with the government and insisting that the sector could only witness growth when all parties work in unison, Nwokocha declared: “The minister is very pained that the unions are coming up with the issue of strikes at this time that he’s about to leave the office. He has been working with the unions over the years, but he feels the unions want to rubbish all he has done over the years with them with these strikes.
“You (unions) need a paradigm shift on how you deal with the government on any critical issues at hand. Whenever the unions move with the government, there will always be positive results. We are partners in progress. A good working environment will cause workers to deliver their best.”
In his welcome address, the President, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE),Mr Abednego Galadima said that it was necessary for all organisations in the sector to measure up with the developments in the global aviation industry.
Galadima who said for unions to continue to be relevant in the sector that they needed to adopt innovations by leveraging on latest technologies in the sector, however canvassed for democracy in critical decision making by the unions and aviation agencies even as he appealed to private organizations in the sector not to take the unions as rivals, but as partners in progress.
According to Galadima: “Unions need to strategise their financial capacity to enable us render help to members and not necessarily going to organisations for help.
“The leadership conference is an opportunity to train union leaders. We want leadership that will evolve with strategic alliance, partnership and collaboration. This has to be sustained among the unions.”
The President, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP), Comrade Kabir Gusau called on the government to always honour agreements while he said the unions embarked on the two days warning strikes having been provoked by the government.
Gusau who condemned how the government had over the years treated issues affecting the workers with levity, however revealed that a meeting between the government and the unions had been slated for May 9, 2023 in Abuja to resolve all the challenges associated with the Condition of Service (CoS) and other welfare issues with their members, hoping that a fruitful agreement would be reached with both parties to prevent another breakdown of laws and others in the sector.