Members of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers of Nigeria, NAAPEN and officials from the Trade Union Congress, TUC on Thursday stormed Bristow Helicopters as early as 6:30 AM and shut down all it’s offices in Port Harcourt, Rivers State over discrimination of its members.
The leader of the protesters, Isaac Balami, said:
“For the past ten years our pilots and engineers working with Bristow Helicopters have suffered untold hardship due to discriminatory and slavish policies of the management of Bristow Helicopters. They treat them like they are in a slave camp. You will see a co-pilot who just has 200hrs experience from UK, South Africa and Canada earning far more than their Nigerian counterparts who have been working for years.”
“Nigerian pilots and engineers are treated like slaves in their own country. A job that a Nigerian can do they sack him and give it to a foreigner and pay him more. They have been sacking our co-pilots and the employing white men. We are even more competent than them. Today no helicopter of Bristow will fly until the Managing Director comes to answer us. We have also discovered that the management do not care about the welfare of workers. So before it becomes a safety issue they must come and hear us.”
“We are not saying we want pay rise. We are not saying we want salary increments but what we are saying is we need valid conditions of service in tandem with the labour laws. We also want pay parity. We have other airlines that operate in this country and they obey the labour laws. Those airlines operate within the rules and regulations of this country where captains you are treated as a captains. Captains should be treated fairly whether white or black, they should be treated equally. They should not treat us as slaves in this country.”
Rivers State Chairman of the TUC, Chika Onuegbu added that: “We have shut down all the offices of Bristow Helicopters and we have told the management, staff as well as passengers that they cannot go into the company premises.”
Source: PM News