Journalism of Courage

Protesting aviation workers shut down Lagos airport, air passengers stranded

 ....want sacked 37 workers at Terminal 1 by the management of the operator, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Ltd

Protesting aviation workers have shut down the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos causing flight delays and cancellations with air passengers stranded.

Many passengers scheduled to travel out of Lagos on Tuesday through the private terminal (Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2) could not access the entrances leading to the terminal were blocked as early as 2.00am by members of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN).

Part of their demands is the reinstatement of the sacked 37 workers in the terminal by the management of the operator, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited.

Of the 37 sacked, the union said 34 are members of the union.

Persecondnews recalls that the affected airlines had earlier informed their passengers to brace up for disruption of flights today.

The management of Ibom Air sent messages to their passengers titled: “Urgent Announcement: Picketing Of MMA2 Lagos By Labour Union”: “This is to bring to the attention of our esteemed passengers and the public, that our operating terminal out of Lagos, the Murtala Mohamed Airport 2, operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited has been completely closed off to workers and passengers alike by the labour Union, very early this morning.

“Efforts are currently being made to resolve the situation; however, please note that this action will greatly impact our flights scheduled in and out of Lagos today.

“We greatly regret the impact of this unexpected action on your day’s plans as we urge you to kindly stay close to all our communication channels for subsequent updates.”

The decision of the union has elicited condemnation from key players across the sector with many describing the latest picketing as unreasonable at a time the airlines and the sector are going through hard times

Among the negative comments coming from stakeholders in the sector included, “Are there no better ways of registering their displeasure over issues, other than disrupting businesses and creating losses for the same organizations, from whom they earn their daily bread?

“The essence of unionism is completely defeated if aviation unions fail to engage the full civilized conflict management mechanisms such as collective bargaining and negotiated settlement in dealing with issues.”

Expressing disappointment, it said: “Already, many passengers are stranded, those who are financially capable have chosen to purchase fresh tickets to enable them to travel through the general aviation Terminal One.

“Those who could not afford another tickets have either rescheduled their flights or chosen to remain in the airport until the labour issue is resolved.”

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