The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has called on the Federal Government to intervene in an impending strike that may ground the entire sector following what it called the failure of the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to settle all labour matters in respect of workers of the Aero Contractors.
Speaking at its maiden media conference in Lagos, the newly elected president of NAAPE, Engineer Abednego Galadima expressed worries over the troubled Aero Contractors saying: “We do not know the huge mismanagement of resources, unbridled profligacy, and massive fraudulent practices brought the airline to its knees since about the turn of this century.
This circumstance created the path to the airline’s unwholesome exposure to the defunct Oceanic Bank which in turn led to the involvement of AMCON through the purchase of the airline’s debts from Oceanic Bank.
The association while stating that AMCON was brought into the airline to rescue it, however lamented the negative impact the coming of AMCON has brought on the fortunes of the airline.
“This was because the mismanagement/misapplication of resources continued unabated, more questionable transactions were enacted and insanity in administration went over the roof.”
“The saga unfolded to the point when AMCON obtained a receivership mandate from the court and took over the affairs of Aero fully, as a means to safeguard its rather huge financial interest in the airline which was precariously hanging in the balance. “This last action happens to be the harbinger of the present imbroglio.
Ordinarily, the normal course of action of a receivership hovers around liquidation, auctioning or some other kind of sale. But after careful study of the airline’s situation, it was clear that the assets weighed way below the liabilities. Therefore, liquidation or any form of sales would lead to colossal loss to AMCON and other creditors including the workers. This informed the need to consider other options, wherefore the receiver manager settled for the turn-around option by which the company’s capacity to repay its loans could be restored and enhanced.
“It was indeed with much pain that the unions eventually negotiated a redundancy package on behalf of the workers declared redundant by the management. The receiver manager of Aero under the prompting of AMCON has crossed the line by its unguided action of unilaterally throwing the workers affected by the redundancy exercise out of the airline without paying them their benefits. And it will not be allowed to stand.
“ In defense of the rights of the workers as well as keeping with our duties and mandate under the laws of Nigeria, NAAPE has decided to declare a nationwide strike action in demonstration of our abhorrence of the inhuman treatment being meted to the unfortunate Aero workers. The strike will commence at a soon to be announced date after we finalize consultations with other aviation unions, our friendly unions.
“May we use this medium therefore, to invite the federal government through the minister of labour and employment and the minister of state for aviation, senate committee on aviation, house committee on aviation, leaders of the business community, the diplomatic community, airport users and indeed, the general public to prevail on AMCON to do the needful with regards to the rights of the workers of Aero Contractors in order to avert the imminent crisis of shutting down Nigeria’s aviation industry”.
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