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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Strike: Labour unions ground activities at Lagos airport

Flight operations and other activities at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal II (MMA2), were grounded on Monday, following a nationwide indefinite strike by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC).

Airport unions were seen manning the entrance of the airport as stranded passengers stood by at the MMA2.

Mr Francis Akinjole, General Secretary, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, said activities at the international wing, would also be grounded on Tuesday.

He had earlier told passengers to return to their various activities if they had any, adding there was no sign that the strike would be called off soon.

”We just do not have any choice than to embark on what we are doing and it is clear.

”If the Federal Government signed the new minimum wage today we will leave but if they do not we are starting here today as the commencement day.

”Tomorrow, like we said in our notice to the general public, we are going to ground activities at the international wing.

”The only reason why we are not starting the international wing today is because we are aware that some flights were already airborne, so we are not as insensitive as some people might want think,” he said.

Akinjole said the union was prepared for the length of time the strike would last, but called on the federal government to consider the yearnings of Nigerians.

”We are prepared to go the whole length. Government should pay the Minimum Living Wage that is what they should do,” he said.

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Also speaking, Mr Patrick Evuarhehe, National Chairman of the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) branch of the Association of Nigeria Airport Professional (ANAP), said that no skeletal activity was permitted.

Evuarhehe said that it was a fight for all and not of selfish interests because ‘an injury to one, is an injury to all’.

”Passengers that were here earlier, joined us in this strike because they are in solidarity with us. You understand.

”An injury to one is an injury to all, so, every passenger you see are all labour workers, they are actually traveling from here to one assignment or the other.

”As it is now, they know that my pain is their pain, so it is very important for them to join the struggle that is why you see many of them around.

“They are sitting patiently, doing what they are supposed to do because it is very important for us to get this right at least for once in Nigeria,” he said.

Also, Mr Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) said that the action was a signal to the federal government.

Abioye said that President Bola Tinubu, during his campaign, promised workers a living wage which he had yet to fulfill.

”When President Tinubu was campaigning two years ago, he promised Nigerian workers what is called a living wage.

”We can all see that even the proposed N60,000, cannot take anybody from his house to the market,” he said.

A passenger, Ms Desire Joseph, who planned to fly to Calabar with Ibom Air, said that she was confused and hopeful that the strike would be called off before the day ends.

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Also, Mr Alabi Musibau, an Aero Contractor passenger, who planned to attend a conference in Abuja said that the strike was uncalled for.

He said that the fight for the minimum wage increment was a spoiler as this could further increase the prices of goods in the market.

Some other passengers who stood by with their luggages, out of frustration, said they were too angry to talk.

At the General Aviation Terminal I, managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria FAAN activities were also grounded.

NLC had earlier notified the public of an indefinite national wide strike beginning June 3.

In a letter signed by four aviation unions; ATSSSAN, ANAP, NAAPE and NUATE on July 2, notified operators and the general public that it would fully support the NLC in the action at Lagos airports.

The letter had said that the MMA2 would be fully grounded while the Murtala Muhammed International Airport(MMIA) would begin on Tuesday..

Aviation agencies, NAMA; FAAN and others were under lock and key with police presence. (NAN)

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