Passengers stranded as union picket Bristow Helicopters
...as Bristow debunks union’s claims
Passengers who booked to fly with Bristow Helicopters on Monday were stranded across different states in the country as a result of the indefinite strike by the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).
A visit to the Muritala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, on Monday, showed that some passengers and expatriates who tried to access Bristow facility were barred from entering.
Members of NAAPE at the airport told Businessday that the strike would continue until Bristow agrees to review some of its discriminatory policies against Nigerian workers and accord them same treatment as their expatriate counterparts.
Francis Igwe, public relations officer of NAAPE had explained some of the grievances of the union to include Bristow’s proposal to suspend the conditions of service, negotiations and deliberate subversions of established terms of agreement with NAAPE, insistence on benchmarking salaries of national pilots and engineers to an obsolete rate of N345/$1 coupled with the recent insistence on their proposal to implement N355/$1, a rate which is not obtainable on any foreign exchange window in the world, while still paying to expatriates their full remuneration in US dollar.
Others, Igwe said include failure to train qualified persons in Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and failure to fully reimburse individuals who have successfully completed their ATPL through self-sponsorship, disproportionate matching and capped reimbursement cash figures for self-sponsored pilots on ATPL with an employment bond of N30 million-an obvious unethical and sharp practice.
Dukas Yakubu, vice president of NAAPE said after several attempts to reach an agreement with Bristow, the company has failed to review some of its ‘obnoxious policies’ against its indigenous workers.
Agnes Funmi Sessi, Lagos State chairperson, Nigerian Labour Congress, ( NLC) during the commencement of the strike on Monday said that the NLC was battle-ready for Bristow, stressing that the era of impunity was over.
“We want to state that the era of impunity where companies hide behind Covid-19 to unleash terror against workers will no longer be tolerated,” Sessi said.
But a statement from by the management of Bristow, explained that contrary to NAAPE’S claim that all negotiations have broken down, it remained willing and prepared to continue dialogue with NAAPE. It noted, however, that NAAPE elected to abandon negotiations to embark on a strike which is both illegal and unwarranted.