Despite requests from the Federal Government for them to shelve their swords, the unions have threatened a complete shutdown of airport operations across the country as the two-day warning strike begun by aviation workers entered its second day yesterday.
This despite the fact that one of the unions participating in the strike yesterday rejected the assertion made by Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation, that aviation was an essential service and should not be on strike.
Related News: FG approves N41 billion settlement for aviation workers My family conspired against me and voted Peter Obi: Umahi Stowaway found dead on a KLM Boeing 777 departing from Lagos The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, said in a statement that the strike was unnecessary and distasteful, and that the unions’ concerns about poor working conditions could be addressed internally.
Our reporters, who visited the Nnamdi Azikiwe Worldwide Air terminal, NAIA, in Abuja, the Murtala Muhammad Global Air terminal, Lagos and different air terminals cross country yesterday, saw that numerous travelers were abandoned because of the strike.
More specifically, the workers who were on strike had shut down the check-in areas, which reduced movement significantly but also led to long lines.
The situation was unpleasant for the air passengers, as many of them were seen expressing their displeasure with the disruption of airport activities.
One of the passengers, who went by the name Haruna Adamu, said that the strike was necessary, but that it should have been done in a way that allowed airport operations to continue.
He stated, ” I have no problem with people complaining when they are not treated fairly; however, how you complain is very important.
“Many of us here have very important places and meetings to catch up on, so these guys have not done well stopping scheduled fights.
“As it stands, I can’t go anywhere, and I was hoping that everything would go smoothly, but I’m not sure where I’m going here,” she said.
Sikiru Waheed, General Secretary of the Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, told journalists at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, NAIA, in Abuja, that if the federal government does not comply with the union’s demands, the next step would be to completely shut down airports across the country.
Meanwhile, the National Union of Air Transport Employers (NUATE), one of the unions participating in the two-day warning strike, yesterday called into question claims made by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, that aviation was an essential service industry that should not go on strike.
This was stated by Ocheme Aba, the union’s General Secretary, yesterday on the morning show Sunrise Daily on Channels Television.
In January 2023, the minister stated that industrial actions were illegal due to the new Act of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, or FAAN, and that aviation had been categorized as an essential service.
But yesterday, Aba said, “The meeting with the government on Sunday was deadlocked because nobody could give a guarantee of when the Conditions of Service for the agencies will be released.” He then denied the minister’s claim. As a result, we were also unable to guarantee that we would not go on strike.
“However, we are aware that the Salaries and Wages Commission also held a second meeting with the agencies yesterday. Since we have not been invited to the meeting, we are unaware of the ongoing discussions and their relevance to the present circumstance.
“Secondly, the notion that aviation is an essential service provider is a fallacy that is completely false.
“The Worldwide Work Association, through its true instrument of activity, has previously characterized what fundamental assistance is and has likewise obviously characterized that avionics is certainly not a fundamental administrations supplier, aside from the administrations gave through aviation authority.”
He said that an essential service provider is one whose withdrawal can have an impact on a group of people’s lives.
This service is not provided by aviation, other than through air traffic control. For instance, you might put the people in the aircraft at risk if an air traffic controller tells you that the plane shouldn’t land.
“Yet, when you say airplane shouldn’t take off, you are not endangering anyone’s life and the administrations that carriers give isn’t unique in relation to the administrations Ekene Dilichukwu or any vehicle organization gives,” the NUATE recorder said.
Additionally, Aba stated that the National Industrial Court had determined that airlines and aviation do not provide essential services.
“There has been no discussion of essential services during Nigerian doctors’ frequent strikes. Therefore, he insisted, “This discussion of essential services is neither here nor there.”