We Will No Longer Allow Strike In Aviation Sector – FG
The federal government says it will no longer tolerate strikes and riots in the aviation sector.
TalkGlitz had reported that flights at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), in Lagos state were disrupted on Monday due to a strike by Nigerian Aviation Handling Company Plc (NAHCO) staff members over salary increments.
The strike was later suspended after the management of NAHCO said it had commenced negotiations with its workers.
NAHCO provides ground handling (cargo/ramp), passenger, and other services to several international airlines including Air France/KLM, Qatar, Ethiopian Airlines, Delta Airlines, Virgin Atlantic, and Turkish Air.
In a statement to statehouse correspondents at the presidential villa in Abuja, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika described the action as “wrong, inhuman” and against the law.
Sirika explained that the FAAN act prohibits strikes and riots in the aviation sector, and apologized to the public for the disruption.
He stated that the government would ensure that the law is enforced to prevent future occurrences.
“This is very important to the travelling public. First, we apologise to them, our teeming passengers in this difficult moment,” Sirika said.
“Secondly, this will not happen in the future by the grace of God. And the reason is simple; aviation is an essential service, the act has been assented to by Mr President, so strikes and riots around our airports are prohibited by the laws of the land.
“Now that we have the act in the place and assented to by Mr President and passed by the National Assembly, we will deal with it according to the law.
“We will ensure no essential service is being disrupted by anybody no matter how aggrieved. There are other channels of channelling issues when they arise but they are not permitted to go on strike because aviation is an essential service and is the law of the land now.
“I will give you an example, there was an airline that had to return to base because it couldn’t land. Imagine if there was a patient on that aircraft. Imagine somebody attending to a very serious issue or matter at hand or business or a student trying to catch up with an exam and then because of somebody who is aggrieved some other person will die.
“Government will no longer allow that. So it’s in the law of the land, check the FAAN act, it’s been assented to and it’s going to take place soon, in fact now, from today we will not allow that.”
The minister emphasized that the government is always willing to listen to any grievances and that there are procedures in place to address such issues.
He urged NAHCO staff members to desist from striking and instead, use the proper channels to address their grievances.
“They should please desist from this. It is wrong, inhuman, and not allowed. It is not permitted and we will not be permitting it any longer,” he said.