Placards carrying members of the joint aviation unions have shut down the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Abuja office, demanding for a review of condition of service and other matters.
Some of the placards read: “No to sadist Muktar”, “bring back our autonomy”, “release promotion letters to deserving staff immediately”.
While others read: “Air crash expected with Muktar as DG”; “Muktar, Time to go, bye bye” and “we say no to injustice”, “no to tyranny” and “no to Muktar”.
The unions also threatened to lock down the airport and disrupt flight operations from Thursday if the Federal Government failed to address their grievances.
The unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP).
They were demanding among other things, the review of the staff condition of service, returning to the original organogram of NCAA and inauguration of the board of the authority.
The unions also accused Muktar Usman, the NCAA Director General, of lack of interest in staff welfare, adding that he had failed to pursue the approval of the condition of service.
While addressing newsmen, the State Council Chairman of NUATE, Mr Dauda Nanbol, said their grievances were industrial issues bothering on the structure of NCAA which comprise of the directorate and department.
Nanbol said that NCAA management decided to collapse some of the directorate and departments which have limited space for people existing in the organisation to grow career wise.
He said that the workers would sit for promotion examination but would be denied because of lack of vacancy in the directorate level.
“We are calling on the organisation to implement the reviewed organogram as agreed by the Union and NCAA because we have agreed that those directorate and department that have been merged should be returned.
“They were so that our people can be promoted. They were so that there will be vacancy for our people to occupy office in those directorate.
“We also have issues of people being employed to occupy the managerial post on contract basis while people growing in the career are told that they cannot attain the post because there are no vacancy for them in these places.
“Also on the issue of Condition of service. We know that as workers we deserve our wages and our wages are our right because we put in our effort to make our work blossom.
“However, our condition of service are being reviewed from time to time but the CoS of NCAA has been laying down in the salaries and wages commission. The management are not interested in getting approval for that CoS to be implemented.
“Also the the issue of constituting the board of the NCAA. NCAA has been operating without a board and that is why the DG of NCAA has been high handedness in operating the organisation,” he said.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, said the protest of the unions were not in the best interest of the sector, adding that the unions had not come to him for dialogue before now.
Sirika said that NCAA or the ministry was not responsible for the delay in the review of the condition of service, explaining that the National Salaries and Wages Commission was responsible for it.
On the organogram of the agency, he said that the government took the decision to reduce the number of the directorates in NCAA because of the cost of running the agency.
The minister explained that over 500 staff were stagnated without promotion in the organisation for several years before he assumed office in 2015.
Sirika said that majority of staff had so far been promoted, adding that those who are yet to be promoted were very few.
On the issue of the board, he said that the civil aviation regulations made it mandatory for the government to appoint only an aviator to head the board.
Sirika said that the person earlier nominated was a non-aviator, which was responsible for the delay in the inauguration of the board.