.. Or risk shutdown of it’s operations
Paycut, Drop in oil price affected everybody- Caverton
The National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE has issued the management of Caverton Helicopters, 7 days ultimatum to reinstate the payment of their workers salaries or risk the shutdown of it’s operations in Lagos, Warri and Port Harcourt.
The ultimatum has become imperative following the futile attempts by both parties to resolve the problem.
The ultimatum to the helicopter company was contained in a statement signed by acting General secretary of NUATE , comrade Olayinka Abioye, which the branch chairmen of Warri, Port-Harcourt and Lagos were all copied.
The union in the letter to the managing director of Caverton dated March 30, 2016 with reference number NUATE.GS/MD.CARVERTON/ENP/007-016 and signed by Abioye said the communication served as the final notice of industrial action as there shall be no more negotiation.
The ultimatum my NUATE reads: “Notice is hereby given to the general public and particularly, the esteemed clients of Caverton helicopters, that due to persistent anti-labour practices of the management of the company, the unions have resolved to shut down operations of the company in Lagos, Warri and Port-Harcourt within the next seven days if the salaries of our members are not reinstated. There shall be no further discussions on this fundamental issues as the unions have exhibited high sense of responsibility and maturity in getting the matter resolved but to no avail. This message serves as a final notice of industrial action, all Caverton helicopters workers to note and be fully prepared.”
It will be recalled that since September, 2015, the management of Caverton Helicopters has unilaterally cut staff salaries of workers without recourse to meet the workers or the unions, saying the cut in salaries was as a result of the prevailing oil crisis.
This prompted the union to do their own investigation and was shocked to discover that the cut in salaries was not holistic, but was done based on sentiments.
In his response to the ultimatum, the managing director of Caverton Helicopters, Mr. Josiah Choms explained that the drop in oil price affected everybody which made the management and workers to agree that some people will take pay reduction.
He explained that the situation is critical that even one of their clients who had seven aircraft is now flying three which is affecting their operations.
Mr. Choms said a meeting was held with the union and the workers where the management explained the situation to them and they made some demands which the management acceded to.
According to him:”We have had several sessions with them. We have done the best we can, in this economic downturn.
We are doing the best we can to keep them. There was time of plenty when oil was over 100 dollars per barrel, and not now it is 40..”
The managing director of the company, explained further that the company only reduced the workers salaries and that salaries are up to date.
He said their clientele had reduced because of the fall in oil price.
Choms maintained that the company has tried as much as possible to explain the situation on ground to the union.
He said: “I do not understand the union’s position and the threat that this represents. We have engaged the union in light of the global economic meltdown which is not a specific Caverton situation. Everybody in the world and in Nigeria is facing serious challenges, how our clients have requested for discount, some of them have dropped aircraft. We are not an airline that flies based on passenger traffic. We work on contract. With a dwindling revenue strain, there was no other way but to look at how to increase efficiency and cut our cost.
If the right thing to do is to shut down the company when we are doing our best to retain everybody, I wish them good luck. We would now see who will suffer”.