The government has been called upon to set up interventionist mechanisms when necessary to mitigate escalation of trade disputes/conflicts between workers and their employers, which situation has negatively affected individual and organizational productivity.
The call was contained in a 4 point resolution produced at the end of a two day Retreat organized by the Joint Aviation Trade Union Forum (JATUF) in Owerri which ended on Friday 20th August 2021 at the RENTO Hotel and Suites with the theme “Harnessing the Gains of Industrial Harmony in the Aviation Sector”.
The forum comprised registered Industrial Unions in the Aviation Sector, namely; Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Joint Consultative and Negotiating Council (JCNC) and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Employees (AUPCTRE).
Highlight of the Retreat was lectures delivered by three eminent academics—Dr. Ejem A. Ejem of the Department of Logistics and Transport Technology, Federal University of Technology Owerri whose lead lecture was titled “Industrial Harmony: A strategy for capacity Building and Development in the Aviation Industry”.
Dr. Sir. Amos Agwamba, a senior citizen (formerly of the Polytechnic Nekede Owerri) whose lecture set tone for caution with the title “The Role of Management and Trade Unions on Meeting of the Mandate of Aviation Objective in Nigeria-Security and Safety Issues”. “Time Management” as Panacea for productivity was the 3rd lecture by Dr. Chidi Egbuhuzor.
At the end of deliberations which entailed insightful submissions, participants unanimously resolved and adopted the following positions:
(i) The need to adopt strong human resource management policies aimed at ensuring harmonization and to enhance workers’ career and welfare.
(ii) Trade Unions in the aviation sector should form a strong alliance by strengthening JATUF to secure workers’ interest through a jointly agreed sectoral collective bargaining agreement.
(iii) Need for mutual trust among aviation unions. This entails cooperation, reliability, confidence and understanding. (iv)Participants identified participatory management through the instrumentality of joint consultative practice among all stakeholders as key.
(v) Mutual accommodation by Management in their dealings with the unions as a Sine qua non.
(vi) When necessary, the government may set up interventionist mechanisms to mitigate escalation of trade disputes/conflicts.
(vii) Participants urged the government to adopt a professional outlook/approach by recognizing the rights of workers and the unions as partners in progress.
(viii) It is proper for both management and leadership of Trade Unions in the sector to always adopt a consultative decision-making approach through shared roles and responsibilities.
(ix) As is the practice all over the world, management should consider and respect the opinions, views and positions of trade unions before arriving at critical decisions affecting workers.
(x) A call for the expansion of JATUF membership to include other ranking officers of the union.
(xi) Participants called on the government to expedite action in ongoing efforts toward floating a National Carrier.
(xii) Participants reiterated the need for adequate budgetary provision for improved Capacity building for the smooth operation of the aviation sector, considering its role in the Nation’s quest for rapid development.
(xiii) Participants identified the need for succession planning in the industry through adequate capacity building, career mentorship and motivational incentives: and
(xiv) Participants called for Regular hosting of Similar Union Retreats while also commending the Honourable Minister for this gesture.
Earlier in his goodwill message the minister of aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika who was represented at the event by the Director of Public Affairs in the Ministry, Mr. James Odaudu commended the Forum for the Retreat, saying there could not have been “a more appropriate time for the event, given the high number of labour-related issues that have been witnessed in the sector in the immediate past”.
The role of Trade Unions, the minister said goes beyond being a spokesperson for the employees and midwifing effective promotion of collective bargaining, but they promote and sustain peace and harmony in the work environment.
He maintained that, “In every industrial and economic setting, Trade Unions constitute an element of fundamental importance to collective bargaining which is vital for industrial peace and harmony.
The Minister expressed optimism that the outcome of the Retreat would refocus leaders of the various Unions towards redefining their strategies from incessant disputes and actions that can create instability in the sector.
“We need you, as strategic partners, as much as you need us, as managers of the sector to deliver on our joint responsibility of repositioning the sector for the benefit of all stakeholders,” he said.
As the only channel to secure a “win-win” situation, the minister indicated the willingness of the ministry to support the involvement of Union leaders and workers in policy and decision-making processes, describing them as indispensable for both employees and their employers.
Addressing newsmen after the session, the secretary of the Forum and President-In-Council of Joint Consultative and Negotiating Council (JCNC), comrade Hector Nnadi, said the gains of industrial harmony at the workplace is tremendous especially when placed against environments of industrial disputes and agitations.
“It is against this background that the programme theme was chosen, to ensure we got the benefits of an industrial peaceful workplace,” he stated.
He further said that in achieving the goals of harmony in the sector, both management and labour have an obligation not to see things from their own narrow prisms, saying that was the essence of dialogue as, according to him, it paves way for reaching organizational goals.