- Floats committee on industrial harmony
Fourteen years after the plan to ensure good welfare and salaries of the workers was approved by the Salaries and Wages Commission, the Federal Government has inaugurated a committee to harmonise salaries of workers in the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) with that of their counterparts in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
The committee would also look at salaries and wages of other agencies with plans to harmonising them.
Previous management of NAMA refused to act on the process 14 years after the plan to ensure good welfare and salary package of the workers was approved by the Salaries and Wages Commission, precisely in 2003.
The failure to act on the approval had led to serious unrest in NAMA, particularly by the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA) and other trade unions which had in most cases led to shutting down the airspace causing passengers and other users of the airport untold hardship.
The crisis occasioned by industrial unrest in the agency had also led to bad blood between the management and the workers.
On January 15, 2015, air traffic controllers had raised issues bordering on safety of passengers and aircraft as it was waved aside through promises from the authorities.
The workers had on several occasions given NAMA ultimatum to resolve issues such as welfare, trainings and incessant breakdown of navigational equipment to no avail.
Some of the facilities they referred to at that period include the Total Radar Coverage Of Nigeria known as TRACON, Instrument Landing System (ILS), VOR, VHF radios and other communication equipment.
The seven man committee is headed by Executive Director, Safety Electronics and Engineering of the agency, Faruk Ahmed Umar.
Speaking to Woleshadarenews, Umar said the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu saw the wisdom in addressing the challenge with plan to enhance industrial harmony within the system as well as motivate workers.
Speaking at the inauguration of the committee, Akinkuotu said, “A happy workforce enhances safety of the flying public.”
Some of the elated workers extoled the management of NAMA for wading into a matter that they claimed has lingered for over 14 years and one that has caused industrial crisis for a long time.
They equally said they have trust in Umar led committee for his integrity and commitment to ensuring that workers in the agency get well paid to conform with what their counterparts in FAAN are paid.
They noted that is the only way to guarantee peace and to ensure safety of air travellers because of the danger that persistent industrial crisis could cause to a life dependent sector like NAMA.
In 2005, the management of NAMA attributed the delay in the implementation of the new salary structure to some critical omissions in the document approved by the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission.
It claimed that the omission were of serious concern to the union leaders who implored NAMA management to alert the commission for necessary correction.
“Having studied the approved salary structure, we observe that GL 01- GL 14 are at variance with what was negotiated as it fell short of figures of each of the grade levels.
“ In comparison with the salary structure of Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) the approved salary structure of NAMA fell short to that of FAAN which was approved in 2011,’’ NAMA stated.
Former National President of Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN), Benjamin Okewu who is now a Director with Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) had affirmed that that failure on the part of NAMA management then to implement the approved salary structure was an invitation to industrial crisis.
“This will have ripple effect on the aviation sector. The workers of NAMA, therefore, unequivocally call on NAMA management to immediately and comprehensively implement the reviewed adjustment of the salary structure of the agency dated Aug. 13 2012,” Okewu said.