Passengers Stranded as Aviation Workers Cripple Airport Operations, Threaten Total Shutdown Tomorrow
Many passengers were stranded while others missed their flights or experienced delays as aviation workers commenced a two-day warning strike across airports in the country on Monday.
The is even as the unions have threatened a total shutdown of the industry on Tuesday if the Federal Government does not accede to their demands.
The strike follows a meeting called by the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) which ended in an impasse on Sunday. The unions are advocating the implementation of the Conditions of Service (CoS) signed with staff of the aviation agencies.
According to the Secretary General, National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Comrade Ocheme Aba, “what we want is for the release of the condition of service, as negotiated between them and four aviation agencies for over seven years.
“Implementation of minimum wage consequential adjustments and arrears for the Nigeria Meteorological Agency, NiMet since 2019 and the planned demolition exercise of the agency buildings in Lagos by the Minister of Aviation”.
In Lagos, vehicular activities was brought to a halt as unionists blocked all roads leading into the airports. Passengers, airport users and the motoring public around the Ikeja under bridge, Agege, Ikeja along, Oshodi into the International and local airport terminals were all affected. Entries into the aviation agencies were also under lock.
While the union did not block entry into the terminals, passengers could not access the terminals with their vehicles, while those who came on commercial vehicles had to gain entrance into the airport by trekking.
At the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, JournalNG gathered that passengers were left stranded due to heavy traffic and a union lockdown of the check-in halls, causing long queues and disruption of vehicular movement.
According to Punch, an official who wished to remain anonymous, disclosed that many of the stranded passengers missed their flights due to the union’s actions, leaving many frustrated.
The General Secretary Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, Com Sikiru Waheed, told journalists in Abuja that the second day of the ongoing strike will be more effective than the first day.
According to him, the first day of the strike was just a warning to the public and the government that they are serious about their demands.
He said: “Day two of the strike would be more effective than what you are seeing here now because we only have some leverage today to serve as a warning to other people that are travelling”.
He advised people who have plans to travel on Tuesday to shelve it, saying that the strike action will be a total shutdown.
“People who need to travel tomorrow should please don’t book a flight for tomorrow because it is going to be a total shutdown, it is not going to be like today. By 5:00 am we will be here to shut down everywhere.
“We are appealing to all those that want to travel that they should shove their journey for tomorrow because it may be disrupted. It is a warning for everyone”.