Workers Plan to Ground Bristow Operations over Discriminatory Policies

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By Chinedu Eze

The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has served notice that it would shut down all operations of Bristow helicopters from midnight Monday, August 3, 2020.

The NAAPE has also directed all pilots and engineers in the employ of the helicopter company to embark on an indefinite strike action over what it called blatant discriminatory policies and consistent victimisation of Nigerian nationals.

The Deputy General Secretary of NAAPE, Mr. Umoh Ofonime said: “NAAPE has been actively engaged with the management of Bristow for some time now in a bid to carry out the renewal exercise of the conditions of service for Nigerian pilots and engineers.

“The NAAPE had previously instructed members in the employment of Bristow to embark on a three day warning strike at the expiration of which an olive branch was extended to the Bristow management in the form of a seven-day notice period during which the union had hoped for an amicable resolution to the items under contention.

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“But unfortunately, the Bristow management was unable to proffer any solution even after the union graciously extended seven days’ notice period at the behest of the management.”

The union stated that all sundry labour matters and negotiation between both parties had broken down currently.

Ofonime said: “The management proposal to suspend the conditions of service, negotiations and their deliberate subversions of established terms of agreement with NAAPE, insistence on benchmarking salaries of national pilots and engineers to an obsolete rate of N345/$1 coupled with the recent insistence on their proposal to implement N355/$1, a rate which is not obtainable on any arm of the foreign exchange windows in the world while still paying expatiate foreigners their full remuneration in the dollars.

“Others are failure to train qualified persons in Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and the failure to fully reimburse individuals who have successfully completed their ATPL through self-sponsorship, disproportionate matching and capped reimbursement cash figures for self-sponsored pilots on ATPL with an employment bond of N30 million- an obvious unethical and sharp practice.”

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