Air Peace has advised unions in the aviation sector against their planned picketing of airlines operations in the country over alleged anti-labour practices.
Mr Chris Iwarah, the company Communications Manager, gave the advice in a statement on Wednesday in Lagos.
Iwarah said that the advice was coming on the heels of plan by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and unions in the aviation sector to picket some domestic airlines.
He advised the unionists against disrupting the carrier’s operations or the travel arrangements of its guests over alleged casualisation of workers.
Iwarah dismissed the unions’ claims of casualisation as a deliberate falsehood to confer legitimacy on the illegal picketing, insisting that Air Peace has no single case of casual staff in its organisation.
According to him, the airline has no legal obligation to compel any member of its staff to recognise or join any of the unions in the aviation sector.
“Our attention has been drawn to media reports on plan by the NLC and trade unions in the aviation sector to picket some domestic airlines, including Air Peace.
“The picketing is over a claim of casualisation and refusal to recognise unions in the aviation sector for the purposes of unionising our staff.
“We make haste to state that the claim of casualisation in Air Peace is nothing, but a failed attempt to clothe the planned illegal picketing with legitimacy.
“There is absolutely no truth in the claim of casualisation. We have no causal staff in Air Peace.
“In fact, Air Peace was set up primarily to create jobs for Nigerians; a vision we have pursued in the last three years with great zeal.
“We have not only directly employed hundreds of Nigerians, we have created thousands of other indirect jobs,” Iwarah said.
He said that Air Peace members of staff were operating under some of the best pro-labour practices in the country.
“These include free full health coverage for the staff and members of their family and receiving their salaries on or before the 25th of every month.
“Without a doubt, we recognise the inalienable right of our staff to decide whether or not they wish to be members of any of the unions in the industry.
“It is the responsibility of the unions to sell themselves to our members of staff and not our obligation to compel them to join any group the law has not mandated them to belong.
“It is high time trade unions in the country know that unionism is a matter of free choice; it can never be compelled,” he added.
Iwarah challenged the unions to come up with outstanding ideas to advance the growth of the aviation industry in concert with the efforts of the Federal Government to address the challenges facing the sector.
“We urge the Federal Government and security agencies to call the unions to order to avoid a breach of the public peace.
“While we recognise the right of trade unions to peacefully embark on picketing where there is a trade dispute, such right does not extend to disrupting other people’s legitimate engagements, especially in this case where there is no trade dispute.
“The tool of picketing should not be used just for the fun of it,” he said.
It was reported that Mr Solomon Adelegan, the NLC Vice- President, while briefing newsmen at the congress Secretariat in Yaba, Lagos, said that some companies and organisations in Lagos and Abuja would be picketed.
Adelegan said, “The congress, in joining the global campaign, is picketing anti-workers workplaces in Lagos, Abuja and in all the 36 states of the federation on Oct. 6 and 7.
Simultaneously, the exercise will be carried out in all the 36 states of the federation and will be done in batches.
“We are, therefore, using this medium to advise employers that engage in the violation of workers’ right to desist forth with or attract the wrath of workers.