Labour kicks over smuggling obnoxious provisions into aviation laws

By Tony Akowe, Abuja

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Tuesday warned against the introduction of obnoxious provisions which are inconsistent with the general practice of lawmaking into the nation’s aviation laws, saying there was an attempt to smuggle provisions from the labour laws into the proposed amendments.

The Congress also warned against playing into the hands of the private sector that are pushing for the concession of the nation’s airports in the process of amending the laws.

President of the Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba who presented the position of Labour at a public hearing on the amendment of establishment laws of the six aviation agencies said the planned amendment was placing the sector as an essential service to be regulated by the Minister, a function already given to the Minister of Labour in the Labour laws.

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Wabba also said the congress was against the provisions in the laws which allow the appointment of an interim board for the agencies to be headed by the Minister, the Permanent Secretary or the Head of the agencies saying such a provision does not provide for accountability and transparency.

He said the concern of the Congress is the promotion of national interest with regards to protecting the jobs of thousands of workers in the aviation sub sector and also safeguarding critical national assets from predatory private interests.

According to him, the congress is also concerned about attempts to use the current review of the Aviation Acts to introduce obnoxious provisions that are inconsistent with the general practice of lawmaking, saying “we are concerned that provisions that are solely domiciled in our national labour laws are being imported into the proposed amendment to the Aviation Act under consideration.

“We caution that this is out of sync with global best practices especially as provided for by the core Conventions of the lnternational Labour Organization which Nigeria has been signatory to for over 60 years had signed up to more than sixty years ago, if such obnoxious provisions could find their way into our aviation laws review in 2020, we wonder if we are making progress or beating backwards after sixty years as a Sovereign country”.

Wabba told the Committee that all provisions relating to the Introduction of essential services into the six bills being considered for review, especially Section 29 of the Civil Aviation Act should be completely expunged because airline business cannot be described by any stretch of thought as essential service.

He said further that the nation’s labour laws have already defined what essential services means and has invested the powers to regulate industrial issues including essential services on the Minister of Labour and Employment.

He said “it would be nebulous, a double jeopardy, counter-productive and a matter of conflict of interest to make or list essential services under the Civil Aviation Act and to assign the powers of Interpreting and assigning essential services to the Minister of Aviation.”