Minimum wage: Aviation workers shut airspace, NUPENG halts fuel supplies


24 state governments present varying amounts of what they can pay  

The Nigerian airspace will be shut and fuel supplies stopped as aviation unions and the Nigeria Union of Petroleum and Natural Gas Workers (NUPENG) have pledged to join the November 6 strike planned by the organised labour over the inability of the government to agree on N30, 000 minimum wage for workers.

Aviation unions including the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) issued notice of the strike to all their members.

NUATE directed all aviation workers to withdraw their services and join other Nigerians and stakeholders to proceed on the nationwide strike.

Its president, Mr. Ben Nnabue said in a statement that the union supported the Nigeria Labour Congress on the strike “due to the inability of the federal government to agree on the new national minimum wage”.

“All flights operating in/out of Nigeria Airports shall be affected by this industrial action. We appeal to your good sense and understanding in this regard”, he said.

NUATE President noted that “injustice anywhere was a threat to justice everywhere”.

It was learnt that all chief executives of aviation agencies had been notified of the impending action

The union also informed stakeholders of the withdrawal of services of its members from all airports in the country.

Similarly, shortage of fuel throughout the country looms as NUPENG its loyalty to the NLC in the strike.

The national president of NUPENG, Prince Akporeha, said since his union is an affiliate of the NLC, it would comply fully with any directive the NLC gave.

“Are we not an affiliate of the NLC? Is NUPENG on its own? Of course we are with the NLC. We are waiting for directives.”

It would be recalled that the organised labour had fixed November 6, 2018 for the commencement of an indefinite strike over the failure of the Federal Government to approve the N30, 000 it is demanding as minimum wage.

It would also be recalled that the umbrella body of the governors of the 36 states governors Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF) had last week said it could only pay N22, 500 as minimum wage, a position which was rejected by the unions.

NewsGazette gathered that out of the 36 state governments, 24 states were said to have proposed varying amounts as what they can afford.

However, the federal government settled for N24, 500 while the organised labour insisted of the N30, 000 agreed upon by the tripartite committee set up by the federal government.

Meanwhile, the federal government and the organised labour are meeting today to find a way of stopping the strike.

Speaking on the resumption of negotiations, the NLC general secretary, Mr. Peter Esom, said the workers union expected the conclusion of the negotiations and a proclamation of the new minimum wage by the FG.

Esom said who spoke in a telephone interview with ThisDay said the workers were expecting the conclusion of the talks at the meeting.

“We expect the committee to conclude its work and submit its report. That’s our expectation from this meeting because we were at the point of concluding negotiations, when the process was disrupted through the antics of the minster. Once the tripartite committee meets today, we will conclude and later submit our report,” he said.

When asked to give insight as to what the new minimum wage may look like, Esom said: “We have made our demands; there are various other positions by different organisations. The committee is to adopt a figure and we are waiting for that and we will be part of that process.”

On whether the other stakeholders in the tripartite negotiations will accept a final agreement at today’s meeting, Esom said: “We are not waiting for anyone to bring forward anything; the period of submission of memoranda has gone, if anybody brings anything to the meeting fine, we will consider it. It doesn’t stop the committee from doing its work. We have enough information at our disposal to be able to finalise our report.”

Similarly, the secretary general of the Association of Senior Civil Servants of Nigeria (ASCSN), Mr. Bashir Alade-Lawal said: “We expect that the committee rounds up the exercise and government comes with its figure this time around. Not just any figure, but a realistic figure knowing where we are coming from and taking into cognizance the hardship and the suffering the workers have been going through in the midst of increasing inflationary trend and depreciating value of the nation’s currency.”

In the same vein, the director general of the Employers Consultative Association, (NECA), Mr. Timothy Olawale, said: “We hope to have the position of both the federal and state governments on the new minimum wage figure just as we’ve had for private sector employers. We also hope we should be able to conclude the work of the committee so we can submit our report to the president.”


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