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    Aviation unions protest at Lagos Airport

    Aviation union members Monday protested at the Lagos Airport over brutality of their members by officers and men of Nigeria Police in Caverton Helicopters.

    The union members alleged that the management of Caverton Helicopters directed the Rapid Respond Squad RRS, to brutalise and molest their members who were protesting the non-payment of the redundancy benefits last week.

    The protest led to many passengers and motorists stranded along roads leading into both the local and international airports as they chanted solidarity songs calling on the Nigeria Police to stay within their limits.

    National President, National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, comrade Ben Nnabue said it was unacceptable for the police to be involved in the matters of the unions when they were unaware of the Genesis of the issues at hand.

    He explained that the protest was to express their displeasure over the brutalization of their members and for Caverton helicopters company refusing to fulfill the agreement reached with them on the redundancy benefits.

    Secretary General, Association of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, Comrade Francis Akinjolie said the involvement of the police in the matter was uncalled for, adding that the unions are irked about this development and the unions would not take it likely for the police to dabble in matters that does not concern them and to the extent inflicting injury on their members.

    According to Comrade Akinjolie, the unions have it on good authority that it was the tradition of the company to embark on redundancy exercise and later re-absorbed the staff as casual workers.

    The labour Union leaders however noted that on Monday evening, the Caverton management scheduled a meeting with the unions this morning to discuss with a view to ending the continuous picketing of the company.

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    The company is said to have pleaded for six weeks  to garner funds to off-set what was owe the disengaged staff.

    The unions also picket two catering companies, ASL and Servair.

    Officials and vehicles of the Lagos State Task Force were deployed to the NewcrestASL to man the gates where members of the unions are protesting.

    Comrade Nnabue said the two companies have refused its staff who was interested in joining the unions from doing so, adding that some of them have been placed on suspension.

    He said the freedom of association allows that one can join unions they like and preventing such a staff from doing so was an infringement on their fundamental human rights.

    Comrade Nnabue emphasized that the unions would not take this likely with any organizations who threaten, harass or stop any of their staff interested in union activities from doing so.

    The unions involved in the protests match are; National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE); Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN); Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP); National Association of Air Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Services Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE).

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