Sunday, September 20, 2020

Update: NLC supports aviation unions protest

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By Lawani Mikairu

The Nigerian Labor Congress, NLC, on Monday supported aviation unions’ protest over the planned concession of some of the country’s airports.

Let’s remember that the unions organized a peaceful walk through the country’s airport, yes.

A statement signed by NLC President Comrade Ayuba Wabba, titled “The Nigerian Labor Congress condemns the concession plans for Nigeria’s major airports,” read: “It is with great alarm that we learn of the renewed efforts of the Federal Government to concession from the main airports in Nigeria, namely: Nnamdi Azikiwe – Abuja International Airport, Murtala Mohammed – Lagos International Airport and Port Harcourt International Airport, in the interests of the private sector ”.

Nigerians may recall that the current government concession campaign did not start today. It has been part of the neoliberal predilection of successive governments stretching from the days of the military government to the current democratic administration to privatize, deregulate, and concede critical national assets to their cronies and friends. Organized labor has identified this approach to governance as reactionary, predatory and selfish. Yesterday we rejected the concession of our main national assets. We are rejecting it today! “

“The unhealthy and unpatriotic attitude of handing over our precious national property to private sector agents is not only unfair and immoral, it is also an ultra-violation of Chapter 2, Section 16 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the Goals Fundamentals and the Guiding Principles of State Policy which states that the Nigerian government must administer and operate the main sectors of the economy and ensure that our economy is not operated to allow the concentration of wealth or the means of production and exchange in the hands of a few individuals or of a group ”.

”It is important to note that, although our airports, especially those destined for concession, were in a state of eye pain and deterioration, no private sector invested money in their rehabilitation. It would be a great insult to the collective intelligence of the Nigerian public for the federal government to invest a large amount of public funds in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of our airports and then hand them over to private sector actors to maximize profits and at the expense of the taxpaying public. . That is unfair. It is immoral. This cannot be sustained ”.

“Aside from the bleeding in government revenue that this concession portends, Nigerian workers are concerned about the safety of their jobs. Our experience in the past has been one of massive layoffs of workers once the private sector obtains the concession of our national assets. The reason is very overt: profit maximization, as very few workers engage in slave labor to do the work that would normally be required for many workers to do. Organized labor would resist this ”.

“As far as we are concerned, there is no compelling reason for the Federal Government to give away our national airports to private companies to manage them. The truth is that this presents the government as incapable of managing anything. We are sure that no responsible government would want to be seen that way. The failures of private sector intervention in our public electric power supply speak volumes about the danger inherent in using public assets to serve private interests or massage the egos of those in the corridors of power.

“The truth is that once public workers are properly motivated, trained and trained, and given a conducive work environment, there are no limits to what they can achieve. Furthermore, once the government is committed to allowing professionals to do their jobs without undue interference and ensuring optimal maintenance standards, especially by enforcing standards in the public procurement process, our workers are more than capable of maintaining and managing our national assets. The success story of the Ethiopian airline and the airport hub instructs ”.

“The Nigerian Labor and Organized Labor Congress in Nigeria warns the Federal Government to desist from further contemplations, discussions and arrangements to concession our international airports. We call for social dialogue between government and work on this ”.

“Organized labor and the entire Nigerian working class would resist any attempt to unilaterally concession any of our public airports, thereby undermining the guiding principles and fundamental goals of our national constitution, which is actually the fulcrum on which our collective identity and aspiration rests ”.

“We will not cede or cede public assets to a few well-connected Nigerians, regardless of how powerful they may think they are,” the NLC statement added.

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