The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Service Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) have given the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) 14 days ultimatum to pay the workers the enhanced salary scheme or they would ground their services in the agency.
But NAMA has said that a committee had been set up to look into the grey areas of the new condition of service with the labour leaders in order to have acceptable document for the benefit of the workers and the agency's management.
In a warning letter to the management of NAMA which was signed by the executive members of NUATE, Abioye Olayinka, and Abdulkareem Motajo, the union said: "By this general bulletin, all NAMA workers are hereby placed on red alert, as we can authoritatively state that NAMA management has persistently continued to blackmail union leaders and threaten our members directly or indirectly," an allegation the management denied.
THISDAY gathered from a senior staff of the agency that the new salary scheme was subject to where the agency could generate enough money to pay it to the workers as it relies on internally generated revenue (IGR) fund welfare of the workers, while government provides the funding for capital projects.
The source also said that the Ministry of Aviation recognised that NAMA ought to boost its IGR before it would be able to pay the enhanced salary scheme and therefore did not make it compulsory for the agency.
"They want to use threat to make the management pay the new salary but NAMA cannot pay those wages because it is too much. We don't have the money because we depend on IGR.
The senior staff said that if the agency was going to implement the new salary scheme them it means that some of the top workers would lose their jobs.
"NAMA is top heavy. Some of the senior staff will lose their jobs so that the money generated would be enough to pay the enhanced salary. The pressure is on NAMA because FAAN (the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria) and NCAA (Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority) have different salary scheme, which presently lower than that of ours. I wonder why the unions are not harassing them.
"In NAMA the technical staff earn more than the non-technical staff so even if you increase the salary it will still be the same because the technical staff earn allowances. The labour leaders should face reality," the staff said.
The General Manager, Public Affairs of NAMA, Supo Atobatele, said in a statement that there was no cause for alarm "over the purported strike notice issued by the said two unions-NUATE and ATSSSAN on the delay in the implementation of new salary."
"NAMA also confirms that none of its workers or union leaders is being put under any kind of threat by management as there is no reason for that whatsoever for that. The latest development however is that a committee has been set up by the management to look into the grey areas of the new condition of service. We implore the union leaders to cooperate with the management to sort out the grey areas and come up with an acceptable document for the benefit of all."