Pas­sen­gers stranded as union picket Bristow He­li­copters Bristow de­bunks union’s claims

Business Day (Nigeria) - - NEWS - IFEOMA OKEKE

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.

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