The National Union of Air Transport Employees have said that many aviation workers could lose their jobs due to the funds belonging to foreign airlines that are trapped in Nigeria.
It said the ugly situation of hundreds of millions of dollars earned by foreign airlines operating into Nigeria, but which they had been unable to repatriate due to Nigeria’s foreign exchange challenges was bringing colossal collateral damage to Nigeria’s image.
The union said it had to weigh into the matter, being the trade union to which all workers in the foreign airlines belong, as NUATE’s stake in this imbroglio was much higher than most other stakeholders.
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, titled, “Foreign airlines’ trapped dollars: A looming catastrophy – call for extraordinary action,” NUATE said, “First of all, knowing who you are convinces us that this unpleasant situation must have preoccupied you already, and that your office must already have been working very hard to find a workable solution.
“Secondly, being that you are, yourself, an aviation professional means that we need not bore you with enumerating the many dangers the continuation of this very adverse situation poses to the health of the aviation sector, the national economy, and Nigeria’s standing in the comity of nations.
“However, we feel obliged to mention the threat to the employment and livelihood of thousands of workers of these foreign airlines should they resort to further significant reductions, or outright shutdown of operations.”
The union said it must also mention the concomitant losses (not excluding jobs) that would accrue to several service providers who were dependent on, almost entirely, on the foreign airlines – ground handling, inflight catering, logistics, aviation security, among others.