Air Traffic Controllers Strike and Win

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by Segun Ogun

Members of the National Association of Air Traffic Controllers, a component part of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) won a very important victory after a 6-hour warning strike on April 16. ATSSSAN had set the stage with the resolution of its National Executive Council meeting of March 19-20, to “deploy all legitimate arsenal at its disposal” in the union’s struggle against redundancy and any anti-worker policy within the industry.

Speaking with Socialist Worker, Comrade Benjamin Okewu, the ATSSSAN President informed that the specific strike of April 16 by the union’s NAATC members was to secure the approval of harmonisation of the rating allowance for professionals employed by the National Airspace Management Authority (NAMA). The matter, he said, had been a contentious one for a while. The warning strike was to have been followed by an all out indefinite strike action on April 20. But even before the warning strike had taken its course, NAMA conceded.

This shows that when we dare to struggle, we dare to win. ATSSSAN is not resting on its oars with this victory. There are several problems besetting workers in the aviation sector, which ATSSSAN and its sister union, the National Union of Air Transport Employers (NUATE) are set to battle on. These include the anti-labour practices of concessionaire companies in the industry and ensuring that the proposed harmonised conditions of service for the aviation sector by the government do not represent a cunning way of reducing the wages and allowances of workers.

With the added tonic of the air traffic controllers’ victory, both ATSSSAN and NUATE would no doubt be reinvigorated for the decisive battles that lie ahead.

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