Written by Chuks NZEH

NLC gives airline operators ultimatum to reinstate sacked staff

The leadership of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has given a 2-week ultimatum to Turkish Airline, Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters to reinstate their sacked staff union executives and pilots, respectively, or face mass action.

This is contained in a statement signed by the President of NLC, Comrade Ayubba Wabba, released at the weekend, where he wondered why workers should bear the brunt of the organization during hard times.

He said "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."

"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.

Wabba insisted that, "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."

He further noted that, "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.

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