Passengers Helpless as Aviation unions Shut Down Lagos Airport

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Passengers were on Wednesday stranded as aviation unions shut down operations at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).

According to NAN, the unions embarked on a protest over BASL’s alleged sacking of 20 employees.

The protesting unions are the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).

As early as 6am, the union members were said to have barricaded the entrance to the MMA2. It was alleged that they embarked on the protest in spite of a court order restraining them.

The unionists accused BASL management of violating extant labour laws by not recognising the unions and preventing staff from joining unions in the sector.

They were said to have prevented passengers from going to catch early morning flights, and also airline officials and people with businesses inside the terminal from gaining access to the premises.

Airlines affected by the action include Arik Air, Medview Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractors.

Frances Akinjole, general secretary, ATSSSAN, told NAN that the unions were compelled to carry out the action following the refusal of BASL management to accede to their demands.

Akinjole said: “This issue started since May when these workers were laid off for indicating interest to belong to unions.

“We met the management asking them to reinstate these workers and recognise their rights to join unions but they refused.

“The regulator of the industry, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) as well as aviation security agencies have intervened in series of meetings, but BASL management has refused to do the needful to avert this crisis.”

Akinjole denied knowledge of any court order restraining the unions from carrying out the action, saying what they were doing had legal backings.

However, Bi-Courtney said it obtained the order from the federal high court, Lagos.

“We will like to bring it to the attention of the entire public that the Federal High Court in Lagos in suit number FHC/L/CS/16412/18 has granted an order restraining the unions from carrying out their threats of disrupting the activities of the terminal,” Steve Omolale said on behalf of the company.

“Pursuant to this order, members of the unions found in the premises of MMA2 would be liable to trespass.

“We reserve our right under the law of Nigeria to deal with such person as a trespasser.”

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