Members of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) have picketed the entire terminal belonging to Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) over the sack of its members.
It was gathered that airlines operating from the terminal were forced to cancel flight services due to the action of the unions.
NewsBeatng reports that ATSSSAN and other unions used their vehicles and equipment to barricade the entrance and exit of MMA2 as early as 4 am tuesday.
The unions claimed that some of their members got sacked recently, albeit unjustifiably. Nairametrics understands that the members were fired without recourse to Section 20 of the Labour Act on engagement and disengagement of workers.
The unions said the affected workers learned of their sack through “ordinary e-mails” sent to their different inboxes. This was after they were told to embark on a 10-day compulsory leave of absence.
Akinjole stated that most of those affected by the action dedicated at least a decade of their lives working for the company.
The Deputy General Secretary of ATSSSAN, Comrade Frances Akinjole, vowed that the union would not retreat until the affected staff were re-engaged or treated fairly by the BASL management.
Akinjole decried that the terminal operator had a penchant for disregarding labour laws, alluding to the 2018 sack of 29 of its members by the same management without due process as some of its intimidating actions against the workers.
He also claimed that the action was to witch-hunt its members working with the terminal operator, stressing that its branch chairman, branch secretary, branch treasurer and branch women leader were all affected by the sack.
Most of the early morning travellers to Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano and Kaduna, among other routes, were denied entrance into the terminal by the unions who carried various placards with different inscriptions, accusing the terminal operator of slavery.
All the airlines operating from the MMA2 terminal were also affected by the disruption to flight services.
Airline workers and other staff working from the terminal were unable to gain access to their various offices as a result of the action.
Some of the airlines affected were Max Air, Azman Air, Ibom Air, Arik Air, ValueJet, Green Africa and others.
One of the passengers, Mr Henry Stanley, said that he was supposed to travel out of Lagos to Abuja early this morning with Green Africa Airways. But he was surprised when he got to the entrance of the terminal only to see it barricaded.
Daniels decried the situation and called for an immediate resolution to the crisis.
He said “This is very unfortunate. No one was aware this was going to happen, but we were taken aback this morning when we could not fly as planned. Rather than take the law into its hands, the unions should have explored all the available ways as recognized by the law.
“Most of us have critical assignments to carryout out of Lagos today, but such plans have been truncated because of ill-thought action by the unions. Who will be responsible for the losses of today? I think we need to be very active in our thinking before we take an action.”
The airline’s management notified its booked passengers of the situation. A statement by the management explained that efforts were underway to resolve the situation and find alternatives.
The statement read in part “This is to bring to the attention of our esteemed passengers and the public that our operating terminal out of Lagos, the Murtala Mohamed Airport 2, operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited has been completely closed off to workers and passengers alike by the labour union, very early this morning.
“Efforts are currently being made to resolve the situation; however, please note that this action will greatly impact our flights scheduled in and out of Lagos today. We greatly regret the impact of this unexpected action on your day’s plans as we urge you to kindly stay close to all our communication channels for subsequent updates.”
NewsBeatng recalled that in 2018, the unions picketed operations of MMA2 for two days after twenty-nine workers got sacked for wanting to join the unions.
The picketing caused massive damage to the operations of BASL and the airlines operating from the terminal.