Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) Wednesday condemned the detention of its members by the Department of State Security (DSS) in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, demanding their immediate release.
In a petition to the director-general of DSS dated July 7, 2015, by the General Secretary of ATSSSAN Captain Tarnongu, the union said, “It is our great expectation that you would deploy your good office to redress this wrong by ordering the immediate release of our members who are being conspiratorially detained by your officers in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State. May we remind you that in a democratic society, the rule of impunity is strongly frowned at.”
According to Tarnongu, the crisis started when members of ATSSSAN and National Union of Aviation Transport Employees (NUATE) at Akwa Ibom Airport Development Company (IADCL) embarked on strike to express their grievances to the management’s high-handedness, mismanagement of the airport, unpaid wages and allowances and desperate transfer of 150 specially trained staffers to ministries and departments outside the airport.
ATSSSAN said that the management of IADCL had been displaying unparalleled anti-union attitudes adding that Barrister Idara Etim, the resource administrator, in a memo directed that no worker should join any union as the state government had not approved any form of trade unionism.
While workers already in the union were given February 12 to renounce their membership or face disciplinary action.
The union noted that there was right to freedom of association to join and belong to unions.
It added that the IADCL had planned to spend $34 million to train workers to replace those redeployed to ministries saying it was a grand scheme to corruptly mismanage the state taxpayers’ money.
“To our chagrin, however, security agencies were dragged into a purely industrial relations matter that was being mediated by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; yet the management remained recalcitrant and refused to honour all hallowed agreements.