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ATSSAN President accuses FAAN workers of frustrating airport concessioning 

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Abiola Seun

Aviation workers, under the umbrella of the Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), have accused the union leaders in the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), of frustrating the concessioning of airports in the country.

The Federal Government had proposed a 20 to 30-year concession tenure for four major airports billed for private ownership.

The plan would enable private investors to own, operate and recoup investments made on Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano airports.

Speaking on a radio programme monitored yesterday, the President of ATSSAN, Comrade Illitrus Ahmadu, said the two representatives of the aviation workers in the ministerial committee  are frustrating government effort in concessioning the airports.

According to him, the aviation unions yielded the ground for two FAAN members to represent the unions on the ministerial committee on airport concessioning but,  they have so far refused to give details to the body they represent on decision reached at the committee level.

He said, “I recall when the current administration came, series of meeting were held in Lagos and Abuja where the union insisted they wanted to be part of the process.

” The Minister explained that the templates does not accomaodate union membership in respective ministerial committee on concession however, because of the pressure and demands of the union, he yielded two positions and of all the programmes at that time.

“The leadership felt that concession was the most important one that touches  on the lives of the workers, so the union  yielded two positions for FAAN for transparency and the two representative of the union in the committee are from FAAN -current president of NUATE, Ben Nnabue and Danjuma Muhammed, chairman of FAAN branch.

“They are the one representing the union on the committee now, you want to know what has been happening and I can tell you as National President that I don’t get any briefing from the representatives of the committee.

“I had directed that they open a file in ATSSAN secretariat and NUATE secretariat where they will file all the records of the proceedings of the committee so that we can follow what has been done and I have made that request severally and it has not been heeded to.”

The ATSSAN President said the two union representatives have expressed fear of job loss and redundancy but, the Minister has shown readiness to address all the fear in town all meeting with FAAN members but the union leaders are still not  convinced.

“For me to be clear on this matter, we have had series of meetings with he Minister and he has given us assurance that the unions will not be short changed.

” Infact, in one of our meetings, the Minister availed us the full OBC and he said we should do a critique and revert back to continue discussion.
“We attempted to do that and it was greeted with frustration from the members of the committee and our members from FAAN.
“It appears that they are not interested in discussing the matter because why will shy away from such an opportunity to x-ray the OBC, bring out our grieviances, sit with the Minister and discusses it.”
“”In the meeting, the union said they understood what the Minister was trying to do however, their members in FAAN do not have visibility so there is this apprehension about Job losses, redundancy declarations, sack and the Minister said if that was the case, he will come to all the formations of FAAN and have a town hall meeting with them and explain to them and take their questions to share visibility on the subject matter but this efforts were frustrated by the union.”

Ahmmadu said the FAAN representatives have rebuffed all his effort to know about happenings in the committee, saying they should resign their position or come to the table for discussion.

“The representatives of the union at the ministerial committee have not been briefing anybody, they have not been briefing the secretariat and I requested that files be opened, minutes of meetings be deposited so that we can follow and as I speak to you, none have happened.

“They have refused to do that but, if you feel you are dissatisfied as a member of a committee that things are done behind you, then I ask, have u registered your protest? Have u resigned?” he asked rhetorically.

“In ATSSAN secretariat when we have meetings with the FAAN group, we told them that if they are dissatisfied, they should resign and why have they not resigned? They are attending trainings, workshop, organised by same transaction advisers only to come back to say something different if you feel dissatisfied, why are u going their?

“So, as far as am concerned, the interest of our workers is paramount. We exist to protect the welfare of our members if there is a policy that affects out members, we should be able to speak to the policy, talk to the relevant authorities, negotiate a way out as we should not shy away from the table,” he said.

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