by Yusuf Lawal

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Workers in the National Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) have successfully resisted management’s unilateral change of the rules for promotion. The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) declared a strike ultimatum Captain Muktar Usman, the NCAA Director General issued a directive stating that oral interviews for promotion of staff which is clearly spelt out in section 3.4 of the staff conditions of service, would be replaced with written examinations, for those billed to be promoted in 2015.

Speaking to Socialist Worker, Comrade Lanre Popoola, the NUATE FCT Chairman pointed out that the grouse of the unions is that the conditions of service is formulated through collective bargaining between management and the unions. Changing the rules in-between bargaining rounds would amount to unilateral exercise of power by the bosses.

The workers, he said are not necessarily against examinations as against oral interviews. Unlike with the latter, workers who believe they have been wrongfully assessed could call for their test papers and have this objectively reviewed. But if the unions allow management to discard one rule established through negotiations today, a precedence would have been set for tampering with any other item in Collective Agreements in the future.

NCAA’s action was considered even more worrisome since a new round of bargaining is scheduled to commence by January 2016. Meanwhile staff who should have been interviewed for promotion since last January are yet to be interviewed. Comrade Olayinka Abioye had earlier pointed out that management was “playing pranks” with the promotion exercise, describing this as an example of its nonchalance on matters of staff welfare and progress.

Frightened by the possibility of all airports in the country being shut down indefinitely from October 25, management hurriedly withdrew the infamous directive. Socialist Worker which was set for joining the unions’ picket lines across the country salutes the courage of NCAA workers and their unions in resisting management’s unilateralism and calls for the immediate oral interviews of workers due for promotion in 2015.