By Olamilekan Okeowo
Aviation workers under the aegis of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) on Tuesday grounded activities at the Murtala Mohammed Airport 2 (MMA2) Terminal in Lagos State to protest the “unprovoked termination” of the appointment of 34 aviation workers by the operators of the airport terminal, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).
Their activities led to the suspension of early morning flights as airlines like Ibom Air and Air Peace which operate within the terminal were forced to stop flight operations.
Ibom Air, in a notice to passengers, said the action of the union would greatly impact its flight schedule 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,” the airline said.
It would be recalled that ATSSSAN had alleged that BASL, operators of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2) Lagos, sacked 34 of its members illegally.
The union alleged that its members including the ATSSSAN Branch Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer and Women Leader who were said to have demanded “the payment of terminal benefits to staff members who exited the service of the company lawfully in line with the signed Conditions of Service” were sacked Friday, October 28, 2022, with “ordinary e-mails” sent to their different boxes with disregard to the rule of law after they were first sent on a compulsory leave of absence for 10 days.
Consequently, ATSSSAN issued a seven-day ultimatum to BASL to reverse the sacking of the 34 workers or face picketing.
The union accused BASL Management of going ahead with the sacking at a time when parties were at the negotiation table, and that there was nothing to suggest that the negotiation has broken down irretrievably.
It considered the termination as victimisation of its members and excos who were merely carrying out their constitutional duties.
“In light of the above. ATSSSAN has declared industrial action against BASL and calls on all branches nationwide, as well as all professional associations affiliated to ATSSSAN to withdraw services to all airlines operating into and out of the MMA2 Lagos immediately without fail,” said ATSSSAN Principal Deputy General Secretary, Frances Akinjole.
A spokesperson for BASL said the company initially engaged the union but there is no official response on the development as of press time.
By Olamilekan Okeowo