A breakdown of industrial relations within the Nigerian Aviation Handling company ( NAHCO) has caused ground handling staff to down tools which has led to airlines turning around and lack of staff to check in passengers and cargo flights grounded at airports where the company operates.
In fact several air travellers arrived at the airport this morning to an overwhelming shock when airport officials informed them they will not be working as they are on strike.
The international airport is further looking chaotic as passengers with their baggage are all over the terminal confused as to their next line of action and held hostage by the ongoing strike
Royal Air Maroc, Qatar Airlines passenger flights have been turned around according to information gathered by our correspondent while Virgin Atlantic, which is on ground, is offloading with their staff and the cargo is still on the aircraft as NAHCO staff refused to work only passengers were disembarked.
Information also reaching our medium is that Qatar Airlines Cargo which landed took 2 hours to disembarked crew since it touched down, cargo are still in the aircraft.The industry is expected to be on a downward spiral if this continues as in solidarity, the Skyway Aviation Handling Company ( SAHCO) cannot take over its competitors’ clients simply because their staff too have their internal crisis to deal with but seems to be handling it better than NAHCO.
Insider information indicates that the situation is chaotic as Qatar Airways passengers are not being allowed into the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA) this morning as the scale of the strike on the carriers and the general public is better imagined.
An anonymous unionist who spoke to NigerianFLIGHTDECK broke down the issue at the handling company to staff welfare as staff asked for increased salaries, and other conditions which, he said, was refused by the handling company who it was gathered took the company staff to court.
According to him increased salaries were sought due to rising cost of living due to hyperinflation among other reasons.Already the far reaching impact can be felt as even domestic airlines who operate using the handling company’s services will be affected, especially Air Peace which boasts of the largest fleet and operations.
It was also learnt that NAHCO went to court seeking an injunction to halt the action and although NigerianFLIGHTDECK is unaware of any injunction in place, it was learnt that that further agitated the unions who questioned why the board and management instead of engaging go to Court.
Initially SAHCO and NAHCO wanted to put heads together to start engaging the unions to see how they can manage and resolve this but NigerianFLIGHTDECK learnt that on the part of SAHCO there has been conversation going on however the latter proposed a10% increase negating the unions’ request for 100% increment which according to staff was the company’s way of playing hard ball.
NAHCO handles check-in, boarding and ramp services for several international airlines including Air France/KLM, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Air as well as several Nigerian airlines including Air Peace and Dana Air both of whom have released statements on their flight disruptions caused by the action.
All these are happening even as President Muhammed Buhari is expected in Lagos State today Monday and Tuesday 23rd , 24th January, 2023 and traffic and security are expected to be tight ahead of this visit.
This is an unfolding event and regular updates may be posted when available