NAL workers’ pension: Aviation unions issue fresh ultimatum

Aviation unions have issued a fresh 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to pay ex-workers of the defunct Nigeria Airways.

Our correspondent gathered on Friday that before the end of the first ultimatum given over three weeks ago, the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika, had convened a stakeholders’ meeting with a promise that the issues would be resolved after the Easter break.

The General Secretary, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, Aba Ocheme, told our correspondent that the unions issued another 14-day ultimatum on Thursday, having waited for more than one week for the government to act on the promise made.

The NAAPE, the National Union of Air Transport Employees and the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria had in a petition dated March 19, 2018, threatened to begin a nationwide strike as a result of the failure of the Federal Government to pay the N45bn severance package of the former workers of Nigeria Airways Limited.

In the petition signed by Ocheme for NAAPE, Frances Akinjole for ATSSSAN and Olayinka Abioye for NUATE, and addressed to Sirika, the unions accused the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, of wilfully delaying the payment of the severance package despite approval by the government.

They stated that it was insensitive of the Ministry of Finance to refuse to pay the workers more than 10 months after the approval of the Federal Executive Council.

“We will not wait until the entire workers of the former national carrier die before taking steps to ensure that they are paid their benefits,” the unions said.

The ministers of Labour and Employment as well as Finance were also copied in the petition.

The unions had stated, “It is disheartening that the Minister of Finance has unconsciously and negatively prioritised the President’s directive on this matter. She has equally in a most uncaring manner, refused to heed all entreaties by the hapless ex-workers.

“Not even the cries of the growing list of the avoidable deaths and other afflictions created by their excruciating conditions of existence had pinched the minister’s hear. Our previous letters to the minister has failed to move her just as an earlier letter from the Nigeria Labour Congress on the matter.”

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