By Suleiman Idris, Lagos
The newly elected Chairman of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Lagos state chapter, Comrade Paul Igene has warn airlines, catering service providers and other private companies in the aviation industry against anti-labour activities, saying the union will no longer condone management decisions that are inimical to the growth of unionism in the industry.
He said rather than try to emasculate the activities of labour bodies in their organizations; they should rather see the unions as partners that will contribute to the growth of their businesses.
Comrade Igene, who spoke to aviation correspondents in Lagos, noted that the challenges in the Nigeria aviation industry require all the different stakeholders’ contributions in addressing them.
He explained that labour unions are key stakeholders in any part of the industry, whether public or private, hence the need for management to carry them along in decision making processes because they act as check and balance between the organizations and workers.
Comrade Igene affirmed that the industry labour bodies will not hesitate to picket any company that denies it workforce the right to unionise.
He said “during my tenure l will make sure every private company in the aviation industry are unionised. We will not allow any private company to run in the industry when it is not unionised. The union serves as a check and balance between staff and their companies and they also see to it that private firms pay their workers as at when due, they should take care of their workers and also realize the hazard in the industry.”
“All airlines, all catering services and any company that is operating within the industry should fuse in with any of the four unions existing in the industry, failure of which we will not hesitate to picket them,” he warned.
The NUATE leader called for unity among the different labour unions and advised members to be devoted to their jobs and avoid criminal acts, affirming that the leadership of the bodies will continue to prioritise their welfare.
He said that “we must continue to collaborate, we must work together so that we can achieve together as a team. Divided we fall, together we stand and as the mother union in the sector, we will lead the way to ensure workers warfare is taking care of. If we are divided, management will catch at it and use it against the workers.”
Outlining his vision for the body, he said the expansion of NUATE in the aviation sector will top his agenda just as he said the body also need a leader at this point in time that can stand and protect the workers, especially at a time when owners of institutions are very difficult, saying some like enslaving the workers and amassing a lot of profits and paying the staff stipends.