Controllers, engineers at loggerhead over pay disparity as crisis brews in NAMA

  • “Address our demands  that are similar to ATCOs” 
  • Akinkuotu meets ‘warring groups

 

 

Air traffic engineers under the aegis of the National Association of Air Traffic Engineers (NAAE) are ready for a showdown with the management of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) over pay disparity with air traffic controllers.

To forestall industrial unrest, the Managing Director of NAMA, Capt. Fola Akinkuotu was said to have met with several groups with a view to resolving all the grievances.

It was not known if he was able to calm nerves and how he intend to resolve issues that could throw the agency into a flurry of crises.

In a notice to all NAAE chapters signed by its Secretary-General, Ishaya Idris Akaaba dated January 5, 2022, stated that “subject to the one week notice of commencement of industrial action issued to NAMA management on January 4, 2022, all NAAE chapters are reminded to immediately organize emergency meetings to sensitise and mobilize or members in line with the issues of great concern discussed at the emergency NAAE NEC Meeting of Tuesday, January 4th, 2022”.

New mobile air traffic tower acquired for NAMA

Akaaba further stated that the failure of NAMA, management to holistically and expediently address their demands that are familiar to that of air traffic controllers has drawn outrage and, “We must act now”.

The group as part of their demand proposed Air traffic safety electronics personnel (ATSEP) professional allowances including 4th and 5th ratings, proposed ATSEP radiation allowance, placing all ATSEPs on customized NAMA NHIS gold plan, and proposed increase of remuneration of ATSEPs on contract.

The engineers are said to be angry over the decision of the management of NAMA to raise the conditions of service of air traffic controllers who have inundated NAMA with the precarious condition under which they operate without addressing their own issues.

The tough situation which led to the death of an air traffic controller in November last year forced the controllers to embark on three-hour flow control for two days, beginning from November 23 to 24, 2021 to register their displeasure over the current working environment of operatives.

The action forced the management of the agency to set up a negotiation committee to address their condition.

On the receipt of the report,  Akinkuotu considered and approved air traffic controllers deployed from other departments to be placed on grade level (GL 12) effective from the date of their ratings with immediate effect.

Other ATCOs that recently acquired their A &B ratings are to be promoted to GL.10 with immediate effect from the date of their ratings while awaiting the release of the ATC scheme of service which will among other things secure their advancement to GL 12.

The annual aeromedical allowance for air traffic controllers has been increased from #200,000 to #500,000 with effect from January 2022.

Monthly remuneration of air traffic controllers who are on the contract has been increased from the present #400,000 to #580,000 resulting from the inclusion of the A&B rating allowance, with effect from January 2022.

Also approved is that all ATCOs are to be registered on the gold plan of the customized NAMA NHIS which is to be implemented soonest.

Management has concluded plans to engage the services of a specialist to evaluate and define the type and level of risks or hazards that controllers and other technical staff are exposed to in order to consider an appropriate allowance as well as mitigation methods. This, NAMA noted is to be done in conjunction with the NATCAs’ committee.

 

 

The management concluded plans to facilitate the expeditious approval and release of the adjusted ATC scheme of service as well as NAMA staff conditions of service without any further delay.

Operational vehicles are being immediately reassigned, most especially for Lagos, Port-Harcourt, and Abuja while management is in the process of securing more vehicles for other stations, using two proposed financing approaches.

NAMA has finally agreed to address and implement the final report as it relates to the controllers’ working environment.

Wole Shadare

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