Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Bristow Helicopters to be grounded

Starting from today, Monday, August 3, Bristow Helicopters will be grounded as pilots and engineers in its employees will embark on an indefinite strike over poor remuneration and working conditions.
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) resolved to completely withdraw all services rendered to Bristow indefinitely from 00hours August 3rd, 2020 over the renewal of pilots and engineers Condition of service (COS) and other issues after a further break down of negotiations.
The association had on July 15, 2020, embarked on a three-day warning strike at Bristow over the same issues but the action didn’t produce the expected response from the management.
Following a break down of negotiations, the association wrote a letter informing all its members in Bristow about the planned strike. The letter was signed by the Deputy National Secretary, Umoh Ofonime with Ref NS/GS/NAAPE/vol.051/2020 dated July 29, 2020.
NAAPE said some of the issues under contention are the management’s proposal to suspend the COS negotiations and their subversion of established terms of agreement with it.
It said Bristow insists on benchmarking salaries of national pilots and engineers to the rate of NGN345/$1 and implementing NGN355/$1- a rate which the association said is not obtainable on any legal foreign exchange window in the world while still paying expatriate foreigners their full remuneration in USD is a contentious issue.
According to NAAPE, it has consistently engaged Bristow management for the amelioration of these issues to no avail.
“NAAPE had previously instructed members in the employment of Bristow Helicopters to embark on a 3-day warning strike at the expiration of which an olive branch was extended to the Bristow management in for of a seven day notice period during which the union had held out hope 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 the seven day notice period at the behest of the Bristow management.
“Failure to train qualified persons for ATPL and failure to fully reimburse individuals who have successfully completed their ATPL through self sponsorship- a deviation from the agreement in place at the time and disproportionate matching and capped reimbursement cash figure for self-sponsored pilots on ATPL with an employment bond of 30 million naira – An obvious unethical and sharp practice.
“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 and now in the extension of the insatiable thirst of nulling our vitality, the company is prepping for a preposterous and unjustifiable redundancy of engineers and pilots hitherto grossly mistreated vis-à-vis the company’s non-adherence to expatriate quota law, national content law and presidential executive order No.5.
“Anomalous implementation of engineers matrix/chart/progression and refusal to adjust national engineers’ progression in tandem with expatriate nationals and global aviation standards and the norm of jettisoning negotiated agreements as in the case of systemic dissolution of the engineering work shift in Eket operation.
“ 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.
“NAAPE uses this medium to issue a strong warning to any detractors to stay away from any acts of sabotage or betrayal. Expatriates are particularly advised 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,’ the strike notice read.
At the time of filing this report, the management of Bristow was yet to respond to the strike notice.
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