There are reports that Unions across Nigeria have declared to hold protests on Monday in all airports across the country over the new “obnoxious” Civil Aviation Act, CAA, that prohibits trade union activities.

The National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, which comprises many unions reportedly signed a statement that directed members to, embark on peaceful rallies/public demonstrations at all airports in Nigeria to demand the expunging of obnoxious Essential Services clauses from the Bills/Acts of the aviation agencies.”

The group is maligning the newly signed CAA by President Muhammadu Buhari which they claimed contains elements that were not discussed in public hearings organized by the House of Representatives, in which aviation workers are considered essential services.

The implication of this gives the Minister of Aviation the power to prohibit union activities, demonstrations, strikes, and service disruptions of any kind within the agency with disputes towards the agency will only allowed to be resolved by the agency.

The General Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Ocheme Aba said that the issue of dictating union activities was not discussed before the Bills were passed and are another attempt to suppress and repress aviation workers who have the right to speak up on issues in their sector.

“The above-stated provisions represent an effort at repression and oppression”, Ocheme Aba, General Secretary of NUATE said.

He noted that Protests will be at all airports in the country in the hope to keep union activities in the aviation sector in Nigeria.

NUATE has reiterated that if the problem is not ameliorated within 14 days of the demonstrations then “our unions shall embark on total industrial action to press home our demands.”

The unions part of the protests include the National Union of Air Transport Employees NUATE, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria ATSSSAN, the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals ANAP, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers NAAPE, and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees AUPCTRE at a joint conference at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport MMIA.

This comes at a bad time for Nigerian aviation as the country is recovering from the issue of trapped funds for foreign airlines, and only recently have Emirates airlines reinstated flights within Nigeria.

There is speculation that the protest will cancel or postpone all or most flights in Nigeria as aviation workers demonstrate to keep aviation unions in the sector.

This will no undoubtedly cause disruptions for flights in Nigeria and further disruptions if there is no agreement reached with unions over the new act.

More will be known after the demonstrations are carried out Monday.

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