9 in 10 workers could lose jobs to concession, says union

Aviation unions

The opposition to airport concession deepened on Monday as the President of United Labour Congress (ULC), Joe Ajaero declared that 90 per cent of airport workers would lose their job if the proposal should succeed.

He spoke during a protest staged by members of the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) held at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA) in Lagos.

It would be recalled that three major aviation unions had penultimate week rejected the proposed concession of airports and issued ultimatum to the Federal Government to halt the process of concession.

A meeting between the unions and the Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika which was facilitated by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige led to the suspension of the ultimatum which would have elapsed this week resulting in disruption of flights operations.

The airports being proposed for concession are Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos; Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport (MAKIA) and Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

However, another aviation association during the rally also rejected the proposed concession.

Ajaero, who was at the rally warned that 90 per cent of workers of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) would lose their jobs if airports are given to private concerns, alleging that the government was only doing the bidding of International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.

According to him, the model of concession being adopted by the Federal Government was not a Nigerian model. To him, the current managers of airports would perform better without political interference.

He said, “If you have 500 workers now; after concession only 50 people will remain here. Even those 50 people will be casual appointments.

“For somebody to ask you to go when you have not completed your service is bad. We fought for 50 per cent salary review before promotion. Concession cannot add anything to the workers, economy of Nigeria. It will only lead to job loss.

“There should be transparency in the process. They told us lies when they wanted to privatize NEPA; the same with NRC and also the power sector. Those pushing for concession are government people; they will use stolen money to buy up the corporations”.  

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