Aviation workers disrupt flights in Lagos

Aviation workers disrupt flights in Lagos

By Our Correspondent

Aviation workers under the umbrella of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), on Tuesday, barricaded the Murtala Muhammad Airport terminal 2, thus disrupting flight operations in Lagos.

The association blocked the terminal in protest against the sacking of its members by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), the terminal operator of the airport.

The NewsZenith gathered that the terminal operator had on Oct. 14, issued a letter of compulsory leave of absence to 34 workers on its payroll.

The letter, titled ‘Leave of Absence’ read in part: “This is to allow management to assess the efficiency of the terminal and allowance will be paid during this period”.

However, BASL management gave the affected workers, which included the company’s branch chairman, secretary, treasurer and women leader, termination letters on Oct. 28.

The workers’ action has resulted in many passengers being stranded while many of them were seen lamenting the situation.

Mrs Sade Fadipe who was at the airport with her two-year-old son complained about the situation.

“I had an important medical appointment for my son but I missed the appointment because of something that has absolutely nothing to do with me.

“There are better ways to resolve issues, not by making everyone suffer for something we have absolutely no idea.

“So, who would compensate us for their failure,” Fadipe said.

Also, Mr Abiodun Dipo, who had a flight by 7.00 a.m. to Abuja, expressed his displeasure about the situation.

“The disagreement between the union and terminal operators can be resolved in civil ways than blocking the airport and as usual, the passengers carry the burdens.

“What is my concern with the issues that both of them have; but then I missed my flight to Abuja, which has come with a cost,” he said.

Meanwhile, defending the association’s action, ATSSSAN said it has declared an industrial strike action against the management of BASL and has, therefore, withdrawn its services with the company.

Mr Frances Akinjole, Deputy General Secretary of the association, at a press briefing on the terminal blockade, insisted that the action of the BASL was tailored towards witch-hunting ATSSSAN members as its branch chairman, branch secretary, branch treasurer and branch women leader were all affected by the sack.

Akinjole said that the management contravened Section 20 of the Labour Act on engagement and disengagement of staff by any company in the country, noting that the union would kick severely against the act of the management.

He pointed out that the association has made several attempts to negotiate with the management of BASL to recall its affected members but the company had resisted.

According to him, since the terminal operators “grudgingly” accepted that its staff could join the unions, it had continued to intimidate its members in the company.

He recalled that the association had, on June 16, 2021, concluded the signing of the staff Conditions of Service (CoS) for its members in Bi-Courtney, after a prolonged negotiation with the management, which spanned about three years.

The deputy general secretary explained that after the execution of the CoS document, a female member of the union resigned from her appointment with the BASL when she could no longer condone the intimidation and the presentation of a cheque for her terminal benefits, which she rejected.

Akinjole explained that BASL management had used historical (year-by-year) computations to calculate her exit pay instead of the expected last salary, which was the reason why the affected staff rejected the cheque.

He maintained that Section 1.12 of the Conditions of Service provides that two months’ basic salary per year be paid to any worker who resigns from his or her appointment.


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