THE Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) has accused the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operator of the Murtala Muhammed International Airport 2 (MMIA2), of a witchhunt following the company’s sack of 37 workers.
ATSSSAN alleged that Bi-Courtney, rather than implement certain conditions of service both parties agreed on in 2021, resorted to sacking the association’s members in its establishment.
BASL had directed, on October 14, 2022, the affected persons to go for a 10 days “leave of absence”, with a guarantee that all their entitlements would not be tampered with.
However, after two weeks, on October 28, 2022, the BASL management gave all the affected workers, including the ATSSSAN chairman, secretary, treasurer and women leader, BASL chapter, termination letters, the ICIR gathered.
One of the letters issued to a staff in the Aviation Security (AVSEC) department of the MMA2, titled, ‘Leave of Absence’, read, “Kindly note that you are to proceed on a 10 days leave of absence with effect from 14th October, 2022. This is to allow management to assess the efficiency of the terminal operations. Salaries and allowance will be paid during this period.”
ATSSSAN wrote BASL through its Principal Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Frances Akinjole, expressing shock at the decision of the management of the terminal operator to address burning issues in the company.
ATSSSAN insisted that the management of BASL had resolved and perfected “an act of deliberate provocation against its union and its interests in the organization.”
The letter read in part, “We view your 10 days leave of absence letters to our Executives and members as a clear victimization of members who have made bold demands for their rights. In the light of the above, we demand as follows: The payment of terminal entitlements to all deserving staff without further delay;
“The withdrawal of the 10 days leave of absence letters issued to our affected branch Executives and members. We have made it clear to the BASL management that
if they resolve to undertake staff rationalization, we, as a Union, are ready to engage them in discussions, but we will never accept intimidation and victimization of our members in the manner Management is going about;
“Relying on our pending ultimatums and notices in respect of some of our pending demands, we hereby avail Management seven (7) days from today, within which to comply with the above demands, failing which we will do all that we deem expedient in the circumstance.”
BASL, acknowledging receipt of the letter, maintained it had taken the necessary action as an organization.
The company’s statement read, “We have paid all allowances as and when they fell due. We have made our statutory pension contribution to the retirement savings accounts of our workers without fail. We have a health insurance scheme for our workers and their family members and we have always paid premium as and when it is due. We also have a life insurance scheme for our employees.
“During the prevalence of COVID-19 when all businesses were shut down, we paid a substantial percentage of salaries to our staff during the lockdown. As soon as lockdown eased, we paid the balance of salaries to all our staff. We were informed that we were probably the only organization in the aviation industry that extended this gesture to its staff during COVID-19.”
BASL noted that even the union, in its letter dated September 17, 2022, stated that both parties were bound by the signed document.
The company further disclosed that it had presented the letter of appeal to the Board of the company with a conclusion that going outside the agreement signed with the Association would be unlawful.
“We continue to be available to work harmoniously towards creating a conducive atmosphere between the Board, management and members of staff,” the BASL statement read.