The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers has written to the management of Azman Air to reinstate 10 workers, including six pilots, sacked by the airline on Saturday.
Our reporter gathered that six pilots, one cabin crew member and three ground staff had their appointments terminated after they complained in a WhatsApp group over the delay in their October salaries.
According to the NAAPE President, Abednego Galadinma, the union gave the airline one week to recall the disengaged workers whilst involving the sector regulator, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority and the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to intervene in the matter.
He said, “We have written Azman and given a one-week ultimatum to reverse the decision of sacking those pilots. We have written to the NCAA and the Minister of Aviation to intervene. It (the sack) is unacceptable and we condemn it.”
Galadinma’s said pilots were made to sign Memoranda of Understanding which continuously suppressed their employment within the Airline Operators of Nigeria structure.
According to him, with the memoranda, it becomes difficult for a pilot to leave one employer and get employment with another employer in the industry.
He said, “It is modern-day slavery and unacceptable. Aviation is a very sensitive environment and you can’t have professionals like pilots and engineers work under an ambience full of fear and intimidation. It is nothing but a recipe for unsafe skies.
“You can’t do that. It is against the trade union act. It is modern-day slavery, anti-constitution and anti-trust. If aviation has been liberalised, you cannot constitute a cabal or cartel that dictates who employs who and what other people do. It is unacceptable and we will tackle it head-on.”
Galadima expressed fear that a cabal may be behind the MoU, though he noted that some of the Chief Executive Officers of the airlines who spoke to him denied being a party to the arrangement.