Aviation Unions Cripple Murtala Muhammed Airport 2, Flights Grounded
Hundreds of passengers are said to be stranded at the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2(MMA2) , today as aviation unions shutdown the MMA2 in solidarity with the sacked workers by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited.
The unions involved in the shutdown are 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).
They disobeyed a Federal High Court order granted on Tuesday in which they were restrained from disrupting the operations of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2).
The court granted the order following the suit filed by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2.
The unions had given notice that they would disrupt operations at MMA2 from today over the alleged disengagement of 20 workers of BASL who they said were disengaged for their alleged attempt to join the union, but who the company said had attained retirement age or were found not to be diligent in their duties.
As early as 6am, on Wednesday, today the union members defied the early morning rains and an “alleged court order” restraining them from embarking on the protest, barricaded the entrance to 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, 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, Ikeja and the Agege Motor Road.
Airlines affected by the action included Arik Air, Medview Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractors who operate flights from the terminal.
There was heavy presence of security operatives including the Police and officers of the Nigeria Air Force during the protest.
Mr Frances Akinjole, General Secretary, ATSSSAN, told NAN that the unions were compelled to carry out the action following the refusal of the BASL management to accede to their demands.
Akinjole said:”This issue started since May when these workers were laid off for indicating interest to belong to unions.
“We met the management asking them to reinstate these workers and recognise their rights to join unions but they refused.