In a move to strengthen harmony between the aviation trade unions, the Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, in a statement signed by the ministry’s director of public affairs, James Odaudu, has promised to continue to support the involvement of union leaders and workers in policy and decision-making processes.
The minister made the pledge at a two-day strategic workshop on industrial harmony for the joint aviation trade unions forum, held in Owerri. The minister noted that the trade unions perform very crucial roles and functions which had made them indispensable for both employees and their employers.
Mr. Sirika added that the successful and effective execution of the roles and functions by labour unions had enhanced the chances of peaceful and harmonious industrial settings.
He said the support was necessary because when issues arose at the workplace between managers and the employee, union representatives remained the channels to secure “win-win” situations for the parties.
“It is hoped that this strategic retreat~, as the name implies, will refocus leaders of our 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.
“This appeal has become imperative; having entered the critical stage of the implementation of the sector development roadmap, we need all hands on deck to ensure its success,” he said.
Sirika said the unions should always strive to create level playgrounds for all members to take part in the decision-making machinery.
According to the minister, they must present a strong united front since multiple unions dilute the power of unions and reduce their effectiveness.
He said: “It is hoped that the retreat will take a very critical look at the effects of having so many unions in the aviation sector as harmony cannot be achieved with a cacophony of voices on the same or similar issues.
“Like in other sectors, the challenge of poor and non-proactive leadership has contributed to lack of trust by members and wrong strategies by union leaders in addressing the myriads of issues that regularly call for attention.
“Unions should, therefore, ensure that only qualified, tested and trusted leaders, who are true workers, should be voted into leadership positions at the local, state, and national levels.
“It is only leaders with integrity that will have the courage to face employers objectively and call their members to order when things go wrong.”
Sirika said that union leaders should be properly trained and educated to know the basic labour laws so as to plan their actions within legally permissible confines.
“‘This will avoid a situation where the unions pursue shadows while leaving the substance, especially during collective bargaining and conflict resolution engagements,” the minister said.