Hell was let loose on Wednesday as fierce looking unionists ground operations at the Caverton Helicopters, an inter-dependent flight service provider, with operational bases in Lagos, Port Harcourt and Warri.
The workers’ union, acting under the aegis of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), laid siege on the Lagos operational office of the airline, ensured there was no flight take off, resulting to a huge loss of fund and hiccup in customers’ service.
NAAPE officials, who had issued a prior warning to the unsuspecting management of the airline, hinged its action on allegations of “illegal slashing of salaries, nepotism, blatant injustice, high handedness, as well as disregard for labour laws as it concerns remuneration and termination of employment.”
The strike which started 4am, was to last for one day after which the unionist would brace to action by ensuring that workers welfare are given it most attention by the airline’s management.
NAAPE and the management of the offshore and onshore helicopter and private charter group, Caverton, have also been on the rocky negotiation issue, also bothering on disparity in salary payment between its Nigerian and expatriate workers, since September 2015.
A statement earlier issued by NAAPE read: “It has become clear that the management of the Caverton Helicopters has taken NAAPE and its members for granted. Despite concerted efforts on our part to secure amelioration to several labour issues severing our relationship, management has remained unconcerned about these issues: “Refusal to commit to payment of salaries every month on, or before 26th day of the month as per Condition of Service as against the present situation where salaries run into months in arrears.
“Refusal to commit to payment of salaries to all Pilots and Engineers in Caverton at the same time, irrespective of nationality, as against the present situation where expatriates are paid promptly but Nationals are owed for months.
“Refusal to commit to pay remunerations being converted from Dollars to Naira at prevailing inter-bank rate as previously agreed.
There is obnoxious issue of deduction of tax and pension without remitting same to appropriate authorities.”
The union said the strike action it took was because it has exhausted all avenues of seeking redress without success, thus having to come to the painful conclusion since the management of Caverton has taken their goodwill and patience for granted.
By Gboyega Adeoye