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**Unions kick, mobilize for showdown next week
**Agency’s staff strength rises to 8000, 4000 pensioners
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the financial underbelly of many of the aviation agencies, particularly, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) as the airports authority can no longer meet its monthly N3 billion spent on salaries and wages occasioned by COVID-19 pandemic.
The huge monthly wage bill of the agency said to run into more than N3 billion can no longer be met, thereby leading to the easy way out by slashing of salaries of workers on grade levels 8 and above by 50 per cent while those on levels one to seven were paid their full salaries.
FAAN, regarded as the cash cow of the aviation industry in Nigeria relies on so many sources of revenue generation. Since the pandemic, the agency’s revenues have dried up. The authority is in serious financial dire straits.
Piqued by the action of the agency, the workers’ unions made up of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) expressed shock over the development, chiding FAAN for not giving prior notice before the decision to cut wages was reached which he said was not in workers’ interest.
General Secretary, NUATE, Ocheme Aba said they were still in shock over the decision of FAAN current action as their members are agitated.
He explained that the FAAN management would have informed their branch chairmen before going ahead to slash their wages.
His words, “Last night, the information we heard was that because they didn’t want to delay salaries as a result of Eidel Kabir celebration, they promised to pay the balance Tuesday next week. That was the information that came from Director of Finance”.
“They didn’t inform us earlier about it, I don’t just understand them, they were struggling to complete the money but it didn’t work out and so they decided to pay 50 per cent.
He added,” All they needed to do was to call the branch people there by phone on the decision they arrived at. As i speak with you now, because this information did not gone round, all FAAN branches nationwide are in a state of mobilization for shutdown next week.
Secretary General, ANAP, Abdulrazak Saidu said the development was brought to their notice Wednesday night by workers affected by the part payment of 50 per cent salary.
He recalled that the management of FAAN had in May, 2020 proposed salary cut which was rejected, forcing it to drop the idea.
The ANAP scribe stated that they were angry because the management did not notify them of their plans before going ahead to execute it, adding that with the public holidays, there was nothing the unions could do now than to wait till work resumption Monday next week.
“They are complaining. They paid staff levels 1-7 their full salary but senior staff from levels 8 and above, they paid 50 per cent of their salary, promising to pay the balance within one week, that is between now and August 7th, 2020”.
Saidu lamented that aside the COVID-19 pandemic, the sheer size of workers not needed has made the wage bill of over N3 billion to be high, thereby preventing payment of full salaries and welfare packages to deserving workers and retirees.
He said the weigh bill was jacked up last year with the employment of over 700 people into Aviation Security (AVSEC) and fire departments as directed by the Ministry of Aviation.
Saidu explained the workforce in FAAN is over 8,000 which include about 5,000 retiree and 4, 000 pensioners.