DESPITE a late restraining order obtained by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) to stop unions in the aviation industry from disrupting the operations of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), the activities at the airport was crippled.
Passengers in their hundreds were left stranded this morning when as early as 6am unions from the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) blocked the entrances and exits the terminal.
Airlines like Azman Air, Aero Contractors, Dana Air, MaxAir who operate from the terminal watched helplessly as their passengers were barred and pre-flight activities crippled when the unions made good their threat of crippling the terminal because of the inability to recall its sacked 20 workers.
Apart from passengers, banks operating at the terminal, Union Bank, UBA as well as entries and other businesses suffered the wraith of the unions as the action crippled their activities.
Aviation unions had defied a morning downpour to barricade the entrance of the MMA2.
The unionists, who chanted various solidarity songs, accused BASL management of violating extant labour laws by not recognising 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.
There was heavy presence of security operatives including the police and officers of the Nigeria Air Force in the area during the protest.
Francis Akinjole, General Secretary, ATSSSAN, ”This issue has been on since May when these workers were sacked because they wanted to join 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.”
In a statement issued last night by Steve Omolale, A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos granted an order restraining the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) from disrupting the operations of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2).
The statement read, “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. Pursuit to this order, members if 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”.