The Minister of Aviation, Sen. Hadi Sirika, says he will work with the existing trade unions in the ministry to completely actualize the concession of four international airports in the nation.
Sirika made the declaration on Thursday, in Abuja at the workers and stakeholders’ sensitization conference organised by the Joint Consultative and Negotiating Council (JCNC). JCNC is the amalgamation of four existing trade unions in the Ministry of Aviation.
Sirika, who was represented by the Director of Human Resources in the ministry, Mr Dogo Mohammed, described the unions as partners in progress through mutual understanding.
According to him, the proposed major airports are Murtala Muhammad International Airport Lagos; Port Harcourt International Airport; Mallam Aminu Kano International Airport, Kano; and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja.
Sirika said the concession, which could last for 20 to 30 years and were extendable on the grounds of good performance, would involve only the non-aeronautical assets of the airports.
He affirmed that the project would be essentially public-private partnerships (PPPs), with the Federal Aviation Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) still in control of the aeronautical operations.
According to him, it will be difficult for the ministry to achieve its mandates without the contribution of existing unions.
“That is why we are progressing because we work hand- in- hand with our unions. Part of the mandate is to ensure that aviation industry achieve global feat. In achieving that we cannot do without the unions.
“I have passion in unionism. I was once one of them. That is why the ministry is progressing. We will work with union to fully actualize our process of concession of four international airports,” he said.
According to him, the process of concession is on and may fully come to maturity before the end of this administration.
He added that the current administration would not come to an end without ensuring the mandate of the ministry was achieved.
Sirika urged other leaders in various levels not to dissociate themselves from the unions in their sectors in order to achieve a lot. As a politician, you are to deliver the gains of democracy, working with unions will fast-track realization of this move. I listen to them when they call,” he added.
The minister urged all Aviation workers to be more creative and take the step to improve themselves on digitalization for better outputs.
Earlier, the JCNC Chairman, Mr Nnadi Hector, commended the entire leadership of the Ministry of Aviation for the respect and responses the unions enjoyed from the ministry.
According to him, the theme of the conference is “ Workers as strategic Partners in Driving the Automation Processes and Personnel Management System in the Aviation Sector. “
He pointed out that the outcome of the conference would assist the staff of the aviation to be more focused on digitalization as a new norm.
“There is a new norm and that is digitalization. I think it is part of the roadmap of the current administration in the communication sector. Of course, aviation cannot be left out of it. Now, personnel automation is something we must get in to. We cannot continue in the old way. There will come a time where workers, who perhaps, are not disposed to these new norms, will certainly become redundant. We will not want that in aviation sector. So, our job as a union is not only to fight but also prevent actions that are not palatable to our workers. This is sensitization on workers about what we call personnel management automation, it is a global trend.”