Hundreds of passengers were left stranded at the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), on Wednesday, as labour unions, in the aviation sector, picketed the terminal in protest over the sack of some workers.
The MMA2 is operated by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).
The picketing of the airport was carried out by the following unions: the 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).
The unions had earlier, this week, given notice that they would disrupt operations at MMA2 as from Wednesday October 10, 2018 over the sack of some workers of BASL who they said were disengaged for opting to join unions in the industry even as BASL alleged that some of the sacked workers had attained retirement age while others were found not to be diligent in their duties.
At the MMA2, the protesting union members had used their vehicles and personnels to block the entrance gate to the terminal, thus preventing passengers, airport and airline workers from gaining access to the airport. This disruption also led to the inability of airlines to operate their early morning flights.
Spokesman for Dana Air, Mr. kingsley Ezenwa however disclosed that the airline found a way to operate its first flight, on Wednesday morning, amidst the challenges on ground but regretted that the situation later degenerated and that it became difficult for all the airlines to fly passengers out of the Lagos airport.
BASL processes flights of over five airlines daily at the MMA2.
Recall that the Federal High Court sitting in Lagos yesterday granted an order restraining the unions from disrupting the operations of MMA2 in the suit filed by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2.
But a statement issued by BASL yesterday 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 if 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”.
BASL also assured customers and passengers of MMA2 that they will continue having seamless access to the facility.
The statement said, “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.
“Despite the fact that we have bent backwards, even beyond our contractual obligations, to resolve the matter of the ex-staff amicably, the unions are still adamant in their resolve to disrupt the operations of MMA2.
“Any attempt to carry out this lawless act despite the subsisting court order would be viewed seriously and considered as an act of economic sabotage targeting a concession which they constantly tried to truncate.
“And as a law-abiding corporate citizen, we will do everything possible within the ambit of the law to protect our facility.”