Following the unveiling of Nigeria Air in London on Wednesday, the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has threatened to halt the operation of the new national carrier should the Federal Government refuse to pay severances of all the staff members of the defunct Nigeria Airways.
Comrade Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary of the union, maintained that until the Government ensure the payment of the former workers, aviation unions will ensure the newly-unveiled project never come to fruition.
Prior to this development, the union had been championing course to ensure normalcy is sustained in the Aviation sector. In April 2015, the NUATE and and Air Transport Senior Staff Services of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) grounded operations of Arik Air from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (NAIA), Abuja, to other parts of the country, for owing the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) a N1.2 billion. The unions, in October, 2015, issued a 14-day ultimatum to Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to promote their members who were due for promotion or risk industrial action.
Also in November, 2015, NUATE condemned the action of Virgin Atlantic Airline management for sacking Nigerian cabin crew members without following due process, which according to the union, was not in line with International Labour Practice and aviation professional standards.
Before 1978, there has been the existence of house unions in the Nigeria Airways and the Civil Aviation Department (CAD) of the Ministry of Transportation. As at then, it was the union in the Nigeria Airways that formed the NUATE. The union was established to protect, defend and promote the rights, well-being and the interests of all workers in the union.