Aviation sector labour leaders on Thursday continued their protest against alleged illegal sack of 24 workers by the management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 (MMA2) Lagos for expressing their interest to join labour unions.
As a result of the industrial action, all commercial airlines’ operations at the MMA2 were disrupted for the second consecutive day.
The airlines disclosed that in order to mitigate their losses on the crisis, they had made alternative arrangements to continue operations at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) operated by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN).
Our correspondent’s on the spot assessment of the flight operations early Thursday reflected that the unions’ protests were taking huge toll on the airlines’ operations as well as general business activities at the airport.
As expected, all airlines who operate flights from the MMA2 terminal, namely Arik Air, Medview Airline, Azman Air, Max Air, Dana Air and Aero Contractors were affected by the protests.
The industrial action was embarked on by the unions despite a subsisting court order issued by Justice I. N Buba of a Federal High Court in Lagos restraining them from the action.
Commenting on how Dana Air has been coping with the crisis, the airline’s Corporate Communications Manager, Kingsley Ezenwa, confirmed that the airline’s passengers had been moved to GAT since the protesting workers did not allow any access to the MMA2.
Ezenwa said: “We have made an alternative arrangement since yesterday and at the moment, the strike is still ongoing but we are hoping that everything will be resolved as soon as possible.
First, we are apologising to our guests for any inconveniences caused by this development.
“It is so unfortunate that those who actually have no business with what is happening are the ones suffering in the battle between these two organisations. So, we are appealing that they resolve it as soon as possible because passengers come first”, he added.
However, the General Secretary, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Frances Akinjole, maintained that the labour unions would continue to disrupt activities at the MMA terminal until the BASL management accedes to their demand to recall the sacked workers.
Reacting to the ugly development at the airport, BASL spokesperson, Mr Steve Omolale, flayed the unions for their disruption of business activities generally at the terminal despite the fact that they were aware of the interim court order on the subject of the protests.
He said that his company would not join issues with the unions since a suit had been filed by the company before a competent court for determination.
The National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) labour leaders are involved in the protests