THE Federal Government has called for social dialogue between employers and employees in the aviation sector to prevent job losses.

Labour and Employment Minister Chris Ngige said on Thursday  during a conciliatory meeting with airline operators and trade unions in aviation industry.

A statement by the Deputy Director, Press and Public Relations, Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Charles Akpan, said the meeting was to discuss contentious issues, especially pay cut and laying off of workers in the sector.

The statement said Ngige appealed to them to join hands to make sure there are no job losses in the aviation industry as the cardinal principle of the President Muhammadu Buhari led-administration is to prevent job losses.

According to the statement, Ngige said the government would honour its pledge to provide palliatives in the form of “tax reduction, tax exemption, and elimination of custom duties on aircraft spares and logistics.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would also provide stimulus package to encourage the operators in the industry,” the statement said.

It added that the minister appreciated efforts of airline operators, especially Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters, in keeping faith and paying the salaries and allowances of their staff, when necessary, for the period of the COVID-19 epidemic.

The statement said the minister urged the operators to allow their employees exercise their right to unionisation, as Section 40 of Nigerian Constitution guaranteed that “We encourage the airline operators to allow members of staff who desire to go into unions to do so, as belonging to unions is a voluntary thing. Obstructing them from doing so is to curtail their fundamental rights as enshrined in our Constitution.”

The minister assured that relative peace had been restored in the aviation industry.

The statement said: “He disclosed that the management of Air Peace, the Minister of Aviation and the trade unions in the industry had already agreed that Air Peace would dialogue with their workers on the re-absorption of some of the sacked pilots and engineers, while those who had already got employment elsewhere would be allowed to go peacefully and with their entitlement.

“The minister directed the unions in Turkish Airlines to forward in writing their complaints about victimization of officers in the unions to the minister of Aviation, and copy the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.”

On Bristow Helicopters, Ngige noted that 90 – 95% of the issues had already been solved through social dialoguing, adding that “while we understand the plight of the employers, being that the volume of work in that organisation has dwindled, from 50 aircraft business to an all-time low of 12 aircrafts, we appeal to both management and workers to dialogue with human face in order to save jobs.


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