Hundreds stranded at Lagos airport over workers' strike

Wednesday October 10 2018

A Nigeria Airways aircraft at the Murtala

A Nigeria Airways aircraft at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, before the airline was liquidated. Hundreds of passengers were stranded at the airport's domestic section after workers went on strike on October 10, 2018. FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Hundreds of passengers were Wednesday stranded at the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) in Lagos following a strike by the unionisable aviation workers.

The passengers were caught by surprise by the shutdown at the airport over the sacking of union members by the Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), which runs the facility.

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).

Disrupt operations

They disregarded a Federal High Court order granted on Tuesday, restraining them from disrupting the MMA2 operations. The court granted the order in the suit filed by BASL.

The unions had given notice that they would disrupt operations at MMA2 from Wednesday over the disengagement of some BASL employees, who they said were victimised for their membership, but who the company said had attained retirement age or were found not to be diligent.

BASL said: “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 of 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.”

Aviation sector

BASL also assured customers and passengers of MMA2 that they would continue having seamless access to the facility.

“BASL is fully aware of the plan by some unions in the aviation sector to disrupt the operations of MMA2 over our decision to disengage some employees. Disengaging the ex-employees had nothing to do with unionism, as we were not aware of this.

"In as much as we know that the unions have the right to protest without disturbing public peace and safety, we too reserve the right to ensure that our operations and services are not interrupted in any way whatsoever.”