…As Business Activities Ground To A Halt At MMA2
…Affected Passengers Relocates To GAT, Scramble For Tickets
Aviation Unions Despite securing last minutes court restraining order to stop aviation unions from disrupting the operations of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Terminal Two (MMA2), the only privately managed airport terminal in the country, the unions at the early hours of today shut down the facility managed Bi -Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL).
This is just as affected passengers of airlines, whose flights originates from MMA2 relocated to the General Aviation Terminal(GAT), also known as Domestic Terminal 1, after appeals by some of them fell on deaf ears, as the unions insisted that there was no going back.
The unions made up of 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) disrupted activities at the terminal, which also affected airlines operating in the terminal.
As early as 7.30 am the unions took over the two main gates leading into and out of the terminal, preventing business activities from taking place at the terminal.
Early bird passengers, who were caught unawares were seen moving to the General Aviation Terminal(GAT) also known as Terminal 1 managed by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) obviously to make alternative arrangement to get to their various destination
The action of the union officials , who were all over the facility affected the airlines such as Dana, MedView, Azman, Aero airlines , UBA, Zenith Banks ,GT Bank ,travel agencies, eateries, pharmacy, ground handling companies, bookshops, and others business owners operate businesses from the private terminal.
Inside the terminal, it was like a ghost town when AbelNewsng.com visited and while union members from the three unions and BASL staff were seen at both the main entrance and exit points while policemen from the Airport Police Command were also seen maintain law and order to ensure peace .
The industrial dispute embarked on by aviation unions against BASL, AbelNewsng.com can authoritatively say will affect passengers at other airports across the country where these airlines were supposed to operate to, as passengers will be stranded.
Only yesterday the operator of MMA2 secured a Lagos High Court restraining order to stop unions but this did not prevent them from disrupting the terminal’s operation, as they went ahead to carry out their plans.
A union member who spoke on the condition of anonymity said that the unions were not aware of any restraining order because they(unions) were not served.
BASL in statement issued by its image maker Steve Omolale stated that a Lagos High Court presided over by Justice I. N Buba yesterday granted the order restraining the three unions from carrying out their threats of disrupting the activities of the terminal from this morning in the suit filed by Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), operators of MMA2.
Recalled that the unions had given notice that they would disrupt operations at MMA2 from today over the disengagement of some workers of BASL who they said were disengaged for their alleged attempt to join them, but who the company said had attained retirement age or were found not to be diligent in their duties.
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”.
Continuing 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, ”BASL assured
Meanwhile, as if to say “one man’s trouble is another man’s gain , activities at GAT was further boosted following the industrial dispute declared against MMA2 terminal that houses both airlines, banks, eateries pharmacy and other business entities .
When Abelnewsng.com visited the terminal ascertain the position of things, some passengers who moved from MMA2 to GAT were seen at the counter the leading airlines trying to secure another tickets just to get to their destination.
It was further observed that the departure hall where Air Peace operates from was full to the brim.
At Air Peace counters at GAT, passengers were seen making frantic efforts to secure tickets to fly to their various destinations.
The situation is the same at Arik Air’s counters who also operate at GAT.
Meanwhile, members of three unions were seen at 2pm at the two gates; entrance and exit monitoring the compliance of the industrial dispute, dancing and singing solidarity songs with the aid of musical instruments.
Recalled that aviation unions had asked BASL to reinstate 26 workers in MMA2, who were sacked for joining the unions failure of they will declare industrial action against MMA2.