Thursday, February 1, 2018 10:34 am
Okafor Ofiebor/Port Harcourt
Operations of Caverton and Bristow Helicopters were this morning Thursday, February 1, grounded by Members of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, NAAPE in protest against the disparity in salaries and other allowances paid indigenous pilots compared to expatriates by the aviation company.
Passengers who are mainly offshore workers were stranded at the Bristow Helipad at the Airforce Base Port Harcourt as a result of the strike.
Some of the Offshore workers who had reported at the Bristow Helicopters helipad at the Airforce Base had all gone back to their hotels pending when the industrial crisis is resolved.
NAAPE said it had been in dispute with the management of the Bristow Group over pay disparity and poor conditions of service for Nigerian pilots and engineers compared to their expatriate counterparts, who work for the same group.
Our investigations indicate that operations of Caverton Helicopters in Lagos, Warri and Port Harcourt may also be grounded due to the protest by the Nigerian Pilots and Engineers
Protests by Nigerian Pilots over salary discrimination have been a perennial issue in the aviation firm, but the management of Caverton Helicopters have refused to correct the pay disparity.
It was difficult getting the management of Bristow Caverton helicopters to speak on the strike as at the time of filing the report.
In 2016, National President of NAAPE, Isaac Balami, and the state Chairman of the Trade Union Congress, Chika Onuegbu, led the demonstrators, who said that for the past 10 years, Nigerians working as pilots and engineers with Bristow had endured untold suffering due to unfair and mindless policies of its management.
Balami had then said, “They treat the pilots and engineers like they are in a slave camp. You will see a co-pilot who just has 200-hour experience from the United Kingdom, South Africa and Canada earning far more than their Nigerian counterparts who have been working for years. A job that a Nigerian can do, they sack him and give it to a foreigner and pay him more.”