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Aviation workers’ warning strike disrupts flight operations across Nigeria

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Workers at airports across the country have made good their threat to embark on a walkout, leaving many passengers stranded.

Persecondnews reports that in Lagos, members of the unions in the aviation sector after their meeting with the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) deadlocked, blocked the entrance to the Murtala Muhammad Airport domestic terminal, Ikeja, signaling the commencement of a two-day warning strike.

The unions — National Union of Air Transport Employee (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) — are protesting what they called unpalatable working conditions and unpaid entitlements.

Other demands are the approval and implementation of the condition of service as agreed between them and the Salaries, Incomes and Wages Commission as well as the office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, and other agencies.

Also on the table are the non-implementation of minimum wage consequential adjustments and arrears for the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) since 2019 .

Another issue of contention is the planned demolition of all the buildings of agencies at Lagos airport by the Minister of Aviation, Sen.Hadi Sirika, to allegedly pave way for an “airport city project.”

NCAA’s Director-General, Capt. Musa Nuhu, had at the meeting appealed to the unions to shelve their planned two-day warning strike.

Also speaking in the same vein, the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Aviation, Dr Emmanuel Meribole who was also attended the meeting, urged the union to stay action.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the five striking unions has indicated that an indefinite strike would follow if at the end of two-day warning strike their demands were not met.

The Deputy General Secretary of ATSSSAN, Frances Akinjole, told newsmen: “As I am talking to you, nothing has changed. If you don’t hear anything from the General Secretary, the strike continues.!The strike goes as planned.”

The strike has since commenced across all airports in Nigeria with many passengers stranded. Many of the passengers were seen trekking to the airport as the unions blocked exit to the domestic terminal one and the MMA2.

Security operatives, including police and military officers, were seen on ground monitoring the situation just as the unions sang solidarity songs.

In the meantime, the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja has advised air travelers and stakeholders to make “contingency plans to avoid missing their appointments.”

It said the management would open the airport for operation as usual, but warned that passengers may experience “disruptions in flight operations as a result of the planned strike action”.

“The management of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, wishes to inform the general public of the aviation union’s planned two-day warning strike scheduled to start Monday, April 17, 2023.

“Intending passengers and stakeholders are kindly advised to take note so as to make contingency plans in order to avoid missing their flights and appointments. Any inconvenience experienced is highly regretted,” a statement said.

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