STRIKE begins : Passengers stranded as airport operations grounded over strike •Sea ports, Abuja schools, Federal Secretariat shut


Passengers were left stranded at Abuja and Lagos airports in the early hours of today following the industrial action declared by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) over the federal Government’s refusal to raise the proposed minimum wage from N60,000.

The Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals, (ANAP), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) had yesterday directed their members to join the strike after the meeting the leadership of the NLC and NUC had with the National Assembly to reach a resolution ended in a deadlock, reports Daily Sun.

The aviation unions whose membership cut across agencies like the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), the Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), complied with the directive in the early hours of today as flight operations at some airports across the country came to a halt.

A domestic airline official told our correspondent that he arrived at the Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport, Abuja, as early as 6.a.m today to get the first flight.

“I got to the airport at 6.a.m, checked in, got to the departure lounge and it was scanty with very few people. Air Peace was making their first boarding call. They were midway into the call when they were stopped and the departure gate was locked and no one could leave. At about 7.00a.m, Air Peace cancelled their flights and the labour unions came and began shutting off the air conditioners in the departure lounge and everyone left.

“Around 7.15a.m, I left the departure lounge and came outside the terminal building and saw a huge crowd. All the check-in counters of the airlines were shut down, no one was selling tickets and no one was checking in.

“When I made enquires, I was told that the unions told all the airline staff to leave the terminal building.

“As I speak, everyone is standing outside the terminal building and no one is being allowed to enter. People are standing outside and hoping that there would be a reprieve,” the airline official said.

The situation was the same at the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos. As early as 6.30a.m, the aviation unions had locked the gates leading to the airport building leaving passengers outside.

However the Managing Director of Aero Contractors, Ado Sanusi, said airlines have not suspended operations but that the activities of the unions will cause flights delays and cancellations.

At the Sultan Abubakar III International Airport, Sokoto, the airport manager, Dnajuma Ahmed, told our correspondent that the airport is one and hajj operations are ongoing. “Everything is going on fine here. As I speak, hajj operations are ongoing and nothing has been disrupted. You know that we usually don’t get morning flights, most of our flights are in the afternoon, so it is our hope that by then, the issues would have been resolved,” he said.

Workers shut Nigerian ports

Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has shut down port operations across the country in compliance with the strike directive from the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, and its Trade Union Congress of Nigeria, TUC.

An official of the Union told our correspondent that besides Lagos ports, all other port formations in Port Harcourt, Warri, Onne, Calabar, and others have been closed.

According to the official, they would remain shut until further notice from the national leadership of Organised Labour.

Federal secretariat grounded, schools closed

The industrial action by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) took effect on Monday as civil servants were prevented from entering the Federal Secretariat, by personnel of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).

The NLC and TUC had said they would embark on strike as a result of the poor minimum wage, by the federal government.

Those who were allowed into the complex were men of the NDLEA, NIS, Police and some staff members of some non-governmental organization who have offices in the building.

Also, students in public schools in Abuja were sent home. Daily Sun observed that students from various public primary and secondary schools were seen on the roads, heading back home.

At Government Secondary School, Wuse zone 6, the gate was left wide opened as students moved out of the school premises while some teachers gathered holding discussions.

Similarly, at Radio Nigeria, the gate was locked as only staff of level 15 and above were allowed access to the office.

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