Beginning from today, Monday, August 3, all pilots and engineers of Bristow Helicopters will proceed on indefinite strike action over what they described as ‘discriminatory policies and consistent victimization of Nigerians working for the carrier’.
Their umbrella body, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) has backed their action for a total shutdown of all Bristow Helicopters operations from midnight Monday 3, 2020.
They are about to take the action after talk of amicable resolution between the workers and management broke down.
Part of the demand is the rejection of bench-marking salaries of indigenous 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 they said is not obtainable on any legs of foreign exchange window in the world while still paying expatiate foreigners their full remuneration in United States dollar.
Other issues raised are failure of the airline to train qualified persons in Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) and failure to fully reimburse individuals who 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, which they described as unethical and sharp practice.
They are equally not happy with what the termed, “Odious laying off of young cadet and trainee engineers after several years of tearful sacrificial toiling on the basis of a promised career in the company.”
Deputy General Secretary of NAAPE, Umoh Ofonime said the group had actively engaged with the management of Bristow Helicopters for some time now in a bid to carry out the renewal exercise of the conditions of service for indigenous pilots and engineers.
According to him, “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 held out hopes of an amicable resolution to the items under contention.”
“But unfortunately, Bristow management was unable to proffer any solution even after the union graciously extended seven days notice period at the behest of Bristow management”, he added.
He carpeted the firm for its usual way of jettisoning negotiated agreements as in the case of systemic dissolution of engineering work shift in Eket operations.
Ofonime states that, NAAPE had consistently engaged Bristow Management for amelioration over there’s issues to no avail.
The indefinite strike, NAAPE says, would consist of the complete withdrawal of services indefinitely until the issues under contention are fully resolved.
The union warned detractors to steer away from any acts of sabotage or betrayal and warned expatiates not to engage in any actions which may be viewed as an act of sabotage.
“Such action shall define anyone who acts otherwise as an antagonist of good faith and will be met with the appropriate response. To this effect, NAAPE expects and demands full compliance from all members including Chief Engineers and Chief Pilots.”
“As a result of these blatant discriminatory policies and consistent victimization of Nigerian nationals at the hands of Bristow management, our members are no longer Mentally Conditioned to Safely deliver their professional obligations under such absurd, discriminatory and excruciating work environment”.