Why We’re Protesting – Aviation Workers’ Secretary


The General Secretary of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Frances Akinjole, has revealed reasons behind the protest of the aviation workers.

Akinjole, in an interview with The PUNCH on Monday, stated that the Aviation Bill passed by the National Assembly sought to categorise aviation workers as essential service providers and had an implication on the rights of the workers.

According to The PUNCH, the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), late August, assented to eight Bills recently passed by NASS, which also included the Civil Aviation Act, 2022.

He explained that the Bill would mean that the workers would not be able to hold protests, conduct strikes or even congresses.

The NASS had in February, passed the Civil Aviation Bill 2022, which sought to repeal the Civil Aviation Act 2006.

The passage of the bill followed the consideration of a report by the Committee on Aviation.

Chairman of the Committee, Senator Smart Adeyemi, in his presentation, said the aim of the bill was to provide an effective legal and institutional framework for the regulation of civil aviation in Nigeria to confirm with the standards and recommended practices set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

He added that the piece of legislation would, among others, establish rules of operation and divisions of responsibility within the Nigerian civil aviation system in order to promote aviation safety.

He said, “the bill, when passed, will be applicable to all persons holding licenses that have been issued or validated by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.”

However, speaking with The PUNCH after the Monday protests, said, “It would not only mean that there must not be strike, but that there must not be any activity that would disturb operations in any facility managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria. In fact, you cannot even hold congress, because if you want to hold congress, you will have to call out your members for a meeting.

“They even defined what strike meant, that even if you do your job, as long as you refuse to do it or sit down or do it slowly, you have committed an offence.”

He noted that they had given the Federal Government a two-week ultimatum to reverse the Bill or they would embark on a full-blown industrial action.

The workers had gathered under the banners of the National Union of Air Transport Employees; Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria; Association of Nigerian Association Professionals; Amalgamated Unions of Public Corporations; Civil Service Technical & Recreational Services Employees, and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers to protest across the country on Monday.

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