Airport Workers To Commence Nationwide Strike From Monday

Local and international flights may be totally grounded nationwide on Monday as air traffic controllers under the aegis Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association commences a new strike over issues relating to poor salary.
A statement signed by the President, NATCA, Mr. Eyaru Victor, in Lagos on Friday, said ATCs all over the country would withdraw their services indefinitely starting January 19, 2015.
He linked the planned industrial action to alleged insensitivity of the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency towards the professional and welfare matters affecting air traffic controllers.
The statement read in part, “We regret to express our grievances on the lack of the recognition of the long-standing sacrifices and display of patriotism by Nigerian air traffic controllers being among the prime professionals in the aviation industry at keeping the Nigerian airspace safe despite various challenges being faced in carrying out the safety critical functions.
“We wish to inform the public that incessant air traffic delays and cancellations during this season were not only due to reduction in visibility, but reasonably due to non-serviceability of navigational aids such as Instrument Landing Systems, Voice Omni-directional Range at destination aerodromes.
“The Total Radar Coverage of Nigeria equipment in Lagos has also witnessed frequent total collapse in recent times. In the past four days, it has collapsed totally twice. When any of the equipment fails; the workload the Air Traffic Controllers and pilots increases thus increasing the level of fatigue thereby encouraging infringement on air safety.”
The NATCA added that repeated letters requesting the review of its professional allowances approved as palliatives pending the actualisation of ATCs request for creation of a salary structure had gone unanswered by the NAMA management.
“This is unacceptable to us. Nigerian air traffic controllers are ridiculously paid compared to their counterparts within the Sub-Sahara Africa,” it said.
Victor recalled that NATCA members that participated in the World Bank-sponsored overseas training between April and July, 2010 had part of their overseas training course allowances unpaid despite earlier agreement on the part of the NAMA management to do this.
He said, “It will interest the public that Nigerians who are graduates employed to become ATCs since 1997 were not given proper employment at the point of entry and were paid between N2,500 to N20,000 monthly to undergo rigorous ATC trainings at the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology, Zaria that sometimes lasts over 24 months instead of 35 weeks.”
The NATCA president also noted that a situation where only about 300 ATCs were manning the nation’s 30 airports and airstrips as against an optimum number of 600 required was unacceptable, insisting that the high deficiency in ATC manpower needed to be addressed urgently and patriotically in the interest of air safety.
“With this, the Nigerian Air Traffic Controllers’ Association wishes to inform all airlines operating within and into the country and the public that anyone that risk flying while the withdrawal of our service lasts will be risking the lives of flying public. There may be an attempt on the part of management to attempt to use unqualified persons to provide air traffic control, any airlines that risk operating do so at their own risk,” the statement added.


Chris Kehinde Nwandu is the Editor In Chief of CKNNEWS || He is a Law graduate and an Alumnus of Lagos State University, Lead City University Ibadan and Nigerian Institute Of Journalism || With over 2 decades practice in Journalism, PR and Advertising, he is a member of several Professional bodies within and outside Nigeria || Member: Institute Of Chartered Arbitrators ( UK ) || Member : Institute of Chartered Mediators And Conciliation || Member : Nigerian Institute Of Public Relations || Member : Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria || Fellow : Institute of Personality Development And Customer Relationship Management || Member and Chairman Board Of Trustees: Guild Of Professional Bloggers of Nigeria

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