- Passengers trek far distances to terminals as gridlock cut of vehicles
- Airlines fear usual repercussions from passenger
Despite last minute efforts by Ministries and Government agencies to stop the intended 2-day warning strike on 17th and 18th April, 2023 the unyielding unions have successfully blocked access to the industry across the nation making good their threat to totally shut down the industry.
The unions, National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers and the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporation Civil Service Technical and Recreation Services Employees are striking over the non-release of the reviewed Condition of Service, CoS as negotiated between them and four aviation agencies for upwards of nine years as well as planned demolition exercise by the Minister of Aviation of headquarters annex buildings of the aviation agencies in Lagos.
The unions issued warnings to airlines flying into the Nigerian airspace as well as domestic airlines to make alternative plans and contact their passengers as there was no going back on the matter and as it stands the entire Lagos airport has been blocked and the industry nationwide is on a standstill.
The Unions had late yesterday warned that there was no going back until the Government met their demands and while speaking to our correspondent this morning, a unionist said they had mobilised as early as midnight with security agencies lurking around to forestall any deterioration of the industrial action.
NigerianFLIGHTDECK learnt a meeting scheduled for 1pm yesterday to avert the strike was called by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority ( NCAA) but when that became unfeasible a zoom meeting was initiated where the government pleaded with the unions to shelve the strike, citing different reasons ranging from calls from foreign airlines planning to suspend their Nigeria routes.
Another reason that was given was that the National Salaries, Income & Wages Commission (NISWC) already invited the Agencies to a meeting on Tuesday and the meeting is expected to finalise some COS, especially NCAA.It also said that the Unions’ demand on NIMET’s consequential adjustment has been met and they will start receiving it with their April Salary.
From the last information reaching our reporters, the agencies negotiating on behalf of the government promised to go back and meet and communicate their decision back to the Government as they cannot take the decisions alone but the meeting ended in a stalemate as the unions refused to buck.
At the meeting were all heads of Aviation agencies, the Perm. Sec the Director of Trade Ministry of Labour, the Director Human Resources Federal Ministry of Aviation, other Directors, Director Human Resources NCAA, three union Presidents, union National Secretary and the four local unions Chairmen.
Meanwhile , the effect of the shutdown is seen in Lagos with the massive gridlock building around Ikeja and its environs as the unions blocked the access gates cutting off vehicular movement .
Travellers are seen carrying bags to meet up with flights that may not service them and again, the airlines would once again bear the brunt of the force.
Airline operators who spoke to our reporter said they were flying as aircraft were on ground but that passengers were delayed due to gridlock caused by the warning strike or trekking to the airport to catch the flight.
According to him, he is unaware of how it is going to work on the other side but airlines are prepared to fly but expressed fear that at the tail end passengers would blame the carriers who have no fault in a matter that is of no concern to them.