Jonathan approves payment of air traffic controllers

President Goodluck Jonathan has approved the payment of the harmonised rating allowances to Air Traffic Controllers in order to avert an industrial action scheduled to begin today (Monday).

The airmen, under the aegis of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association, had on Thursday embarked on a six-hour warning strike, which halted domestic flight activities across the nation’s airports.

The PUNCH had on Friday reported how hundreds of passengers were left stranded at various airports across the country for the period that the strike lasted.

The association said the strike was to press home its demand for the payment of the harmonised rating allowances to its members.

It, however, announced in a statement on Sunday that it had suspended the planned strike scheduled to commence today based on an approval from the President for the allowances to be paid.

The statement, which was signed by the Deputy President and General Secretary, NATCA, Haruna Bassi and Banji Olawode, respectively, stated that all services rendered by the air traffic controllers would not be halted as earlier planned.

It stated, “NATCA embarked on a temporary withdrawal of service for six hours on Thursday, April 16, 2016 to press home its demand and issued a follow up statement to embark on a full-fledged withdrawal of services beginning from 00.00 hours of Monday, April 20, 2015.

“NATCA and the union, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, against the background of the brief from the union that the President and Commander-in-Chief has approved the payment of the harmonised rating allowances for the Nigerian air traffic controllers, hereby call off the intended indefinite withdrawal of service.”

The association called on its members to continue to carry on their duties at the airports, stressing that it would work with the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency to ensure the safety of the country’s airspace.

It said, “We enjoin all our members to continue to render their services in ensuring safe and secure airspace in Nigeria while we partner with the NAMA management on the future growth of the agency.

“We want to thank the President; the ministers of Aviation, Labour and Productivity; chairman and members of staff of the National Salaries, Income and Wages Commission, and the management of NAMA for all their support and understanding.

“To the teeming aviation stakeholders and passengers, we appreciate your understanding and patience. We assure you of a better and secure airspace.”

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