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Aviation Unions’ Protest Shut Down Airlines, Leave Passengers Stranded

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Aviation Union Shut Down MMA Terminal Over Sack Of 200 Members Of Staff

Hundreds of passengers have missed their flight as aviation union protests has led to the shut down of operations at the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited.

According to information gathered by Naija News, the unions embarked on the protest alleging BASL’s sacking of 200 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, in-spite of the rain, barricaded the entrance to the MMA2, chanting various solidarity songs. They accused BASL management of violating extant labour laws by not recognizing the unions and preventing staff from joining unions in the sector.

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

The protest also caused heavy vehicular traffic around the airport environment, which spiraled to some parts of Ikeja and the Agege motor road.

Airlines affected by the action include Arik Air, Medview Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractors, which operate flights from the terminal.

There was heavy presence of security operatives including the Police and officers of the Nigeria Air Force in the area during the protest.

Their action came in spite of a court order restraining them from embarking on the protest.

Mr Francis Akinjole, General Secretary, ATSSSAN, said that the unions were compelled to carry out the action following the refusal of the BASL management to agree 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, stressing that what they were doing had legal backings.

However, Bi-Courtney in a statement issued by its spokesman, Mr Steve Omolale, said the company had obtained a court order from the Federal High Court, Lagos, restraining the unions from shutting down Nigeria’s only privately-owned terminal.

“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.

“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,” he said.



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