Grievances Should Be Taken To Employers Not Terminal, Says Expert

The Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), on Tuesday last week, shut passengers out of Terminal 2 of Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos, over dispute with the operator of the terminal, Bi-Courtney Aviation Service Limited ((BASL) .

BASL had sacked 34 staff which the union had kicked against, shutting down the terminal, denying thousands of passengers access to exit and access the terminal.

I gathered that the airlines whose services were disrupted include: Arik Air, Max Air, Azman Air, Air Peace and Ibom Airlines. These carriers were forced to temporarily relocate to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT).

Although, the picketing has been called off by the association, it came with a strong condemnation from the operator of the terminal, BASL and aviation stakeholders.

According to BASL, the picketing was an illegal action that set a bad precedent in Nigeria.

In a statement by the head of corporate communication, BASL, Oluwatosin Onalaja, BASL had the right to manage its business in the most prudent manner and would not be intimidated by external forces for doing so.

Her words, “Contrary to laid down principles of industrial relations and in total violation of the laws of Nigeria, our Terminal was shut down at 2:30 AM on 1st November, 2022 by Airport Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN}). There was no proper notice of this damaging behavior.

“The Union brought in members who are not employees of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) to prevent the employees of BASL from working. This is also an illegal action. Our relationship is with union members who are our employees and not external members. This is clearly an illegal action and continues to set a bad precedent in Nigeria.

In a chat with an aviation expert, Capt. John Ojikutu (rtd), he asked the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), to caution protesting unions against denying passengers from accessing Terminal 2 of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA2), Lagos.

Ojikutu said the NCAA has the absolute powers and authority on civil aviation security in the airports.

“Unions blocked the entrances to the MMA2 terminal refusing passengers from getting access into the terminal to catch their flights operated by airlines and not by the terminal operator.

“It is high time the lawlessness of the unions are curtailed by the responsible authorities, especially the NCAA.

“My knowledge and experience in aviation security tells me always that civil aviation is always on the top lists of targets for attacks by the terrorists. What is happening around us now needs more vigilant attention than what is coming out now at the Lagos Airport.

“Let us urgently call the disruptive unions to order. Let them take their grievances to the offices of their employer and not to the passenger terminal building,” he said.

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