South African Airways Hold Talks With Unions Over Strike

In this file photo taken on May 25, 2010 A South African airways flight takes off as another one is parked in a bay on the tarmac at the Johannesburg O.R Tambo International airport in Johannesburg,
Gianluigi GUERCIA / AFP

 

South African Airways on Saturday held the first round of mediated talks with unions, one day after its workers launched an open-ended strike that forced the embattled airline to ground hundreds of flights.

More than 3,000 workers — including cabin crew, technical and ground staff — started striking on Friday to demand higher pay and to protest against restructuring plans involving heavy job losses.

The walkout forced South Africa’s cash-strapped flag carrier to cancel more than 300 domestic and regional flights between Friday and Monday.

South African Airways (SAA) said unions had agreed to start talks on Saturday mediated by an independent labour dispute resolution body.

“No agreement at this stage,” SAA spokesman Tlali Tlali told AFP at the end of the day, adding that a new date would be set “to continue with negotiations”.

Unions first threatened to strike after SAA announced this week that almost 1,000 employees could lose their jobs as part of a restructuring process.

Talks with management deadlocked after they failed to agree on wage hikes, prompting unions to press on with their threats.

SAA is offering a 5.9 percent pay rise, while unions are demanding an eight percent across-the-board hike and a three-year guarantee of job security.

“Our efforts are focused on finding solutions that accommodate the employee demands, safeguard the business and return operations to normal,” said Kemp.

“We are exploring all possible avenues.”

He added that it was a “critical time” for the company.

SAA is one of the biggest airlines in Africa. It employs more than 5,000 workers, with a fleet of more than 50 aircrafts providing dozens of domestic, regional and international flights each day.

But the carrier is deep in debt, despite several government bailouts, and has not posted a profit since 2011.

Tlali told AFP the airline was losing 52 million rand ($3.5 million) per day due to flight cancellations.

International flights are scheduled to resume on Sunday, said the airline, while regional and domestic flights remain cancelled until Monday included.

Tsitsipas Shocks Federer To Reach Final At ATP Finals

Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas celebrates victory against Switzerland’s Roger Federer during the men’s singles semi-final match on day seven of the ATP World Tour Finals tennis tournament at the O2 Arena in London on November 16, 2019,./AFP

 

Stefanos Tsitsipas shocked six-time champion Roger Federer 6-3, 6-4 to reach the final of the ATP Finals in his tournament debut on Saturday.

The Greek sixth seed, 17 years younger than his 38-year-old opponent, beat the Swiss at the Australian Open but had fallen to him twice since then.

Federer was unrecognisable from the player who dominated Novak Djokovic in his final round-robin match, struggling on serve and hitting a total of 26 unforced errors compared with just five against the Serbian.

But Tsitsipas belied his years with a performance full of confidence and grit, saving 11 out of 12 breakpoints during the match.

“I’m so proud of myself today, great performance and once again the people were great,” he said.

“I really enjoyed myself on the court and sometimes in matches like these, you wonder how you recover from difficulties and breakpoint down.

“It is a mental struggle and I’m proud how many I saved today, I was trying not to give an easy time to Roger, he was playing well.”

Coming into the match, the Greek 21-year-old led the tournament in service games won, with 35 out of 37.

Tsitsipas conceded a breakpoint in his first game as cries of “Let’s go, Roger, let’s go” rang around London’s O2 Arena but he survived the scare and broke Federer in the next game, taking advantage of two missed overheads from the Swiss.

Thereafter it was a case of what might have been for Federer, who dropped just six points on his serve in the first set and saw a whopping six break points come and go.

Tsitsipas was forced to dig deep to see out the set in a dramatic 13-minute final game in which he saved two break points and needed seven set points to close it out 6-3.

Federer was in deep trouble when Tsitsipas broke him to love in the third game of the second set but he finally made a breakpoint count — his 10th, to level at 2-2.

Undaunted, Tsitsipas, dominating rallies from the back of the court, broke again straight away with a forehand cross-court winner for a 3-2 lead.

At 5-4 down Federer knew he had to break Tsitsipas for only the second time in the match.

The Greek slipped to 15-40 down but Federer again could not take advantage, spraying a forehand out to give his opponent a match point and he won with a thundering ace.

A year ago, Tsitsipas won the Next Gen ATP Finals. Now, on his tournament debut, he is one match away from winning the season-ending event, featuring the year’s best eight players.

Tsitsipas first broke into the top 100 of the ATP rankings only 25 months ago.

He will play either defending champion Alexander Zverev or fifth seed Dominic Thiem in Sunday’s final.

Boeing Says Working With Regulators For Return Of 737 MAX

Boeing 737 airplanes are pictured on the tarmac at the Boeing Renton Factory in Renton, Washington on March 12, 2019./ AFP

 

Boeing said on Saturday that it was working closely with regulators to make the necessary changes to grounded 737 MAX aircraft to ensure their safe return.

The model has been grounded since March following the second of two crashes which left a combined total of 346 people dead.

“We are interacting daily with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration)… and also with regulators around the globe” over the return of the 737 MAX, CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes Stan Deal told a press conference in Dubai.

“We continue to work diligently around the changes necessary for the airplane,” Deal said ahead of the Dubai Airshow, an event that opens on Sunday.

“We continue to make progress.”

The FAA, which has been widely criticised for entrusting certification of important systems of the aircraft to Boeing, has promised a thorough review before recertification.

On Tuesday, the FAA said it expected the airplane to resume flying in January, delaying its return by one month.

But on Friday, United Airlines said it had pushed back its expected date for 737 MAX aircraft to return to service, following similar announcements by rivals Southwest and American Airlines.

The US air carrier now says it expects flights to resume on March 4, 2020, two months later than previously estimated.

Boeing said this week it hoped to get regulatory approval for a return to service before the end of this year but has delayed its estimate for the resumption of commercial flights until January, to allow for pilot training.

Deal said approvals from the FAA and other regulators around the world will help set the schedule for the air-plane’s return.

He said Boeing is discussing compensation for the grounding with its customers, including low-cost flydubai, a key client for the 737 MAX.

The grounding has exceeded initial expectations as Boeing had to upgrade systems and faced questions from regulators and politicians over the plane.

The 737 MAX crisis is one of the most serious in Boeing’s 103-year history, and has already cost the company tens of billions of dollars, amid multiple investigations by US authorities and complaints from victims’ families.

Navy Arrests Two Suspected Oil Thieves In Cross River

 

The Nigerian Navy Ship Victory says it is intensifying efforts towards the protection of the Nigerian Maritime space through regular supervision in checking for illegalities with the arrest of two suspects with petroleum products worth over 47 million naira.

The Commander Victory, Commodore Vincent Okeke disclosed this when he paraded two suspected oil thieves at the Victory jetty in Calabar, the Cross River State capital in an operation he personally supervised.

Commodore Vincent who disclosed that about 300 drums of suspected illegally refined products suspected to have been refined in the neighbouring states of the south in three boats were intercepted and two suspects arrested with investigations currently ongoing.

Handing over the suspects and products to the Nigerian Security and civil defense corp, Commodore Okeke tasked perpetrators of illegalities to deceit from such acts as Calabar waterways will continue to be a barrier point for shipping illegal products.

The NSCDC Commandant, Danjuma Elisha, while commending the Nigerian Navy for the giant fleet, expressed satisfaction with the judiciary over various judgments delivered on economic saboteurs.

Lagos, Ogun, Others Get New Commissioners Of Police

 

The Inspector-General of Police, (IGP) M.A. Adamu,( NPM, mni) has ordered the immediate posting/redeployment of the following Commissioners of Police to states as follows:

Cross River State – CP Nkereuwem A. Akpan
Akwa Ibom State – CP Kenneth Ebrimson
Ogun State – CP Imohimi D. Edgal
Kano State – CP Habu Sani Ahmadu
Edo State – CP Lawal Jimeta
Bauchi State – CP Philip Sule Maku
Lagos State – Ag/CP Odumosu H. Olusegun

The Inspector-General of Police charges the newly posted officers to ensure the consolidation and improvement on the gains of their predecessors in the areas of public safety and crime-fighting.

He also directs the new Commissioners of Police to work with relevant stakeholders in adopting aggressive, proactive and community-based crime prevention strategies to combat crime in their Areas of Responsibility.

In addition, the IGP enjoins the citizens of the affected states to accord the Commissioners of Police maximum cooperation to ensure they succeed in the realization of their mandate.

NAF Jets Track Down Fleeing Terrorists In Borno

Air Force Officer Dismissed For Raping 14-Year-Old IDP

 

Troops of 89 and 97 task force battalions of sector 3, backed by the Air Task Force (ATF) of Operation Lafiya Dole have reportedly inflicted heavy losses on the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) at Mallam Fatori in the northern part of Borno state.

A statement from the Nigerian Air Force says the terrorists were routed in a joint counteroffensive operation on Wednesday the following intelligence reports on the movement ISWAP fighters in some gun trucks towards the troops’ location.

The ATF immediately scrambled two attack aircraft to provide close air support for the ground troops as they engaged the terrorists.

According to the statement, the combined intensive fire targetting the terrorists from the air and on the ground forced them to retreat.

However, two gun trucks belonging to the insurgents were destroyed in the first wave, while the attack platforms also tracked the fleeing terrorists, immobilizing two more gun trucks and killing some of the escaping fighters.

Court Grants Stay Of Execution Of Court Ruling On Bayelsa APC Primaries

 

A Federal High Court sitting in Abuja has granted Stay of Execution on the court order that nullified the Bayelsa State All Progressives Congress governorship primaries that produced Mr. David Lyon as its candidate for the November 16 election.

The leader of the APC in Bayelsa State, and Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva, who spoke at a pressure conference in Yenagoa, the state capital, on the stay of execution order, asked party supporters to stand firm.

This comes after the court had declared on Thursday that the APC didn’t follow constitutional guidelines in its primaries hence the party has no candidate for the November 16th election in the state.

READ ALSO: APC Has No Governorship Candidate In Bayelsa Election, Court Rules

The case was presided over by Justice Jane Inyang.

One of the APC governorship aspirants, Senator Heineken Lopkobiri had earlier approached the court asking it to declare him, and not David Lyon, the authentic candidate of the APC.

Counsel to Lopkobiri in reaction to the court ruling described the judgment as strange. According to him, the judgment delivered was not part of their prayer when they approached the court.

Meanwhile, Lyon’s counsel says the party has begun the process of appealing the court’s judgment.

The ruling is coming two days to the election.

Bayelsa Election: APC Is Still In Race, Says Oshiomhole

APC National Chairman, Mr. Adams Oshiomhole

 

The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Adams Oshiomhole says the party is still in the Bayelsa governorship race as the judgment sacking its candidate, David Lyon cannot stand.

Addressing a news conference in Abuja, Comrade Oshiomhole said the party has instructed its lawyers to file for a stay of execution against the judgment.

He appealed to the people of Bayelsa to remain resolute and maintain their position to peacefully vote out the peoples’ Democratic Party on Saturday the 16th of November.

He added that the Court of Appeal has granted a stay of execution on the sacking of the running mate of Mr. Lyon as he is now free to contest the governorship election.

Security Operatives Arrest Four Shiites Members In Kaduna

Bandits Kill Two Air Force Personnel In Kaduna

 

A combined team of the Nigerian police, Army and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps in Kaduna state have arrested four members of the Islamic Movement of Nigeria(IMN) during their violent protest in Zaria.

A statement from the Kaduna State Police Command Public relations officer, DSP Yakubu Sabo, says the suspects are currently undergoing interrogation and will be prosecuted accordingly on completion of an investigation.

Earlier in the day, the Police operatives in Kaduna dispersed members of shiites from staging a protest in the state capital and Zaria.

The Command’s Public Relations Officer, DSP Yakubu Sabo who confirmed the situation in a statement on Thursday said, members of the outlawed group were sighted at the Central area of Kaduna Metropolis and the police operatives promptly responded and dispersed them from staging the protest.

READ ALSO: Police Disperse Shiites From Staging Protest In Kaduna

According to him, the IMN members on sighting security agents, mixed with the mass population of men and women who were doing their legitimate businesses within the market area.

AIB Releases Preliminary Reports On Incidents Involving Air Peace

AIB

 

The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) Nigeria has released the preliminary reports on serious incidents involving three aircraft owned and operated by Air Peace Limited.

The preliminary reports are not the final reports as they contain details of the initial facts, discussions and findings surrounding the occurrences; which include information gathered from witness statements, flight recorders, Health and Usage Monitoring System (HUMS) Data, Flight Data Monitoring (FDM) data, and preliminary inspection of the accident sites and the wreckages.

Therefore, the investigations on these serious incidents are still ongoing and final reports on these occurrences will be released at the conclusion of these investigations.

The reports released by AIB included the serious incident involving Air Peace Limited B737-300 aircraft with nationality and registration marks 5N-BUK at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on May 15, 2019.

AIB also released the report on the serious incident involving the airline’s B737-500 aircraft with nationality and registration marks 5N-BRN at Port Harcourt International Airport, Port Harcourt on June 22, 2019.

Also released is the report on the serious incident involving Air Peace Limited B737-300 aircraft with nationality and registration marks 5N-BQO at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on July 23, 2019.

Senate Asks FG To Partner With Private Sector, States To Promote Investments

 

The Senate has called on the Federal Government to partner with States, Local Governments and the Private Sector in infrastructure development to promote private investments in Nigeria.

The upper chamber also advocated tax holidays for investors in the solid minerals sector while it urged the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development to formalize the operations of illegal miners so as to generate revenue through tax collection.

The Senate further advised the Federal Ministry of Agriculture to collaborate with relevant agencies to push for tax holidays and zero tariffs for import on agricultural and agro-processing equipment.

READ ALSO: Senate Swears In Olujimi After Defeating Adeyeye In Court

These formed part of the resolutions reached by the Senate on Thursday sequel to the consideration of motion on “The need for continuous implementation of policy reforms for the diversification of the Nigerian economy through the Agricultural and Solid Minerals Sectors.”

The motion was sponsored by Senator Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central) and co-sponsored by 59 other senators.

According to Amosun, available statistics show that the contribution of crude petroleum and natural gas to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) declined from 14.95 percent in 2011 to 9.61 percent in 2015 while the agricultural sector contributed 23.35 and 23.11 percent, respectively, to the GDP during the periods.

The lawmaker, who noted that Nigeria was endowed with a wide variety of solid minerals in almost all states of the federation, said the solid mineral sector ranked second only to the agricultural sector as a source of export earnings for the country.

Amosun said, “In the last four years of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, the government has introduced a number of broad and sectoral policies intended to harness Nigeria’s Agricultural and Solid Minerals potentials in a bid to diversify the economy.”

He identified some of the Federal Government’s policies such as the Anchors Borrowers Programme, the Livestock Transformational Plan, Presidential Task Force on Rice and Wheat Production, Presidential Fertilizer Initiative, and the Solid Mineral Development Strategy.

Amosun added that the laudable policy initiatives by the Federal Government to reposition the Agricultural and Solid Minerals sectors would not only diversify the Nigerian economy, but also lift one hundred million Nigerians out of poverty in the next ten years.

Forgive And Forget, Aisha Buhari Tells Kogi Residents

The wife of the President of Nigeria, Aisha Buhari, has told Kogi residents to forgive and forget all that their governor Yahaya Bello has done to them.

Mrs. Buhari made the appeal on Thursday during the All Progressives Congress (APC) rally held in the state, ahead of the governorship election slated to hold on November 16, 2019.

She told the residents that following the President’s intervention of the payment of salaries in the state, the citizens will not be disappointed if they vote for the incumbent governor.

READ ALSO: Come November 16, We’ll Be Celebrating Our Re-election In Kogi State – Yahaya Bello

“My husband used to emphasise on salaries, it took a while for the Kogi salary payment to get settled after a long time of verification.

“But this time vote for him for continuity of payment of salary on time”.

Mrs. Buhari asked the governor to assure the residents of early payment of salary which Mr. Bello pledged his support to ensure that civil servants get paid on time.

She also commended the state for having the less number of out of school children in the country, according to the survey of UNICEF.