Caverton Helicopters count losses as pilots down tool

One of Nigeria’s top operators in the helicopter shuttle segment, Caverton Helicopter was on Wednesday forced to cancel or delay customers’ travel plans due to a labour dispute with its pilots and engineers over welfare. The staff of the company under the aegis National Association of Aircraft Pilot and Engineers, NAAPE grounded the activities of Caverton Helicopters in Lagos in a one day warning strike to press home their demands for improved welfare.

NAAPE through its Secretary General, Comrade Ochembe Aba observed that the management of Caverton has remained unconcerned and has also taken NAAPE and its members for granted despite concerted effort on their part to ameliorate several labour issues severing their relationship with the company.

Comrade Aba decried the refusal of the management of Caverton to commit to payment of salaries every month on or before the 26 day of the month as per condition of service as against the present situation where salaries run into months in arrears.

“ It has become clear that the management of Caverton has taken NAAPE and its members for granted despite concerted effort on our part to secure amelioration to several labour issues severing our relationship, management has remained unconcerned about these issues,” Aba said.

According to him, other areas of concern by the union include the refusal of the management of Caverton to commit to payment of pilots and engineers in Caverton at the same time irrespective of nationality, as against the present situation where expatriates are paid promptly and the nationals are owed for months.

He added that the management of Caverton had refused to commit to pay remuneration being converted from dollars to naira at prevailing inter-bank rate as previously agreed including the obnoxious issue of deduction of tax and pension without remitting same to appropriate authorities.

It is not clear how much impact the one-day strike will have on Caverton Helicopters, but sources within the company told MARKETING EDGE that the strike has forced the company to cancel some of its schedules and the management is making frantic efforts to ensure that areas of misunderstanding with staff is addressed quickly.

Caverton’s dispute with its workers cannot be divorced from its dwindling financial fortnes, the company was forced to recently slash staff salaries to cut costs and survive the economic turbulence. This crisis is not just limited to Caverton as most players in the sector are facing similar challenges owing to economic down turn.

Caverton Helicopters is an aviation company engaged in contract charters, shuttles and maintenance of fixed and rotary wings aircrafts. Its fleet includes Bell 412, Sikorsky S76 C++, Dauphin N, B1, Eurocopters AS 350B2 and Twin Otters. Caverton currently has above 400 staff and is growing. It recently won a 7-year helicopter transport service contract with Shell in Nigeria in conjunction with Dancopter of Denmark


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