Nigeria: Pilots' Union Suspends Picketing of Bristow Helicopters As Minister Intervenes

6 August 2020

Lagos — Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika has intervened in the face-off between the management of Bristow Helicopters and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Daily Trust learnt.

In view of the ministerial intervention, the association has suspended the picketing of the helicopter company which started on Monday.

However, it was not clear if the intervention would reverse the sack of over 100 pilots and engineers working in the airline majorly providing logistics support in the oil and gas sector.

Our correspondent learnt that a meeting between the union and the airline would hold today.

"In view of the intervention of the honorable minister of Aviation Hadi Sirika on Wednesday NAAPE has put on hold the on going Picketing of Bristow Helicopters pending the determination /outcome of the meeting at the instance of Federal Ministry of Labour Ikoyi Lagos today 6/8/2020. Thanks for your support and understanding," NAAPE said in a statement.

Pilots and engineers of the company began an indefinite strike midnight on Monday.

The workers were angry over what they called "discriminatory policies and consistent victimization of Nigerians working for the carrier."

The affected workers under the aegis of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) also rejected the bench-marking salaries of indigenous pilots and engineers at N345/$1, saying the rate was "obsolete."

They said the proposal to implement N355/$1 rate is not acceptable, saying none of the proposed rates is obtainable in any foreign exchange window.

The union is also protesting the failure of the airline to train qualified persons in Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) among others.

They also decried the "odious laying off of young cadet and trainee engineers after several years of tearful sacrificial toiling on the basis of a promised career in the company."

As a consequence, the airline terminated the appointment of over 100 pilots and engineers.

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