• FG is committed to never allowing mass demonstrations and disturbances at the airport
Recent strikes by protest workers at the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO Aviance) and disruptions to airlines operations have been organized in violation of applicable aviation industry law. As a result, odds are emerging that the company and protesting unions may now be held liable for damages resulting from industrial action around airports.
During the 15 hours that NAHCO ground staff went on strike across the country on Monday, more than 60% of domestic and international flights were affected. While national airlines are shut down, their foreign airlines either return to base or divert to neighboring countries. Nigeria`s Air Peace airline estimated the damage at 500 million naira. By law, the new Federal Airports Authority Act of 2022 designates the aviation industry as an essential service and therefore unaffected by disruptive industry action. The law, signed into law in December 2022, states: “All services to facilitate and maintain smooth take-off, flight and landing, order and safety of aircraft, boarding and disembarkation. as well as the evacuation of passengers and cargo respectively at all airports in Nigeria hereby designated as essential services under Article 11(1) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended). change).
“The Secretary may, by regulation, prohibit any or any group or group of workers, officers and employees or other persons, whether lawfully or physically, from engaging in the provision of services specified in this state. Paragraph (1) of this section by participating in a strike or other production activity.
“The Commercial Disputes (Essential Services) Act, Chapter T9, Federal Law of Nigeria, 2004 applies to services within the Agency, facilities operated by the Agency and their enforcement. this bill. There will be no strikes, no factory shutdowns, no pickpockets. , blockade, suspension of service, etc. in any form arises in any enterprise under the authority of the Agency, and in the case of labor disputes, these disputes are resolved by the Agency. »
Appearing to agree to the deal, Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika announced that the federal government would never allow such a breach again. Sirika said, “First of all, I would like to apologize to the many passengers during this difficult time. Second, by the grace of God, this will not happen in the future. The reason is very simple. Strikes and riots around airports in this country are prohibited by law because aviation is an essential service and the laws are approved by the president. “And now that we have a law passed by Congress and endorsed by the President, we will act according to the law. We will ensure that no essential services are interrupted by anyone, regardless of the severity of the harm. There are other channels to deal with issues as they arise, but they are not allowed to strike because aviation is an essential service and is now governed by the law of the land,” Sirika said.
A similar industrial action on the welfare and obstruction of Terminal II at Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA2) in Lagos last November cost local airline operators more than 70 flights across the national network, resulting in loss of income.
Aero Contractors CEO, Capt. Ado Sanusi, said it was inappropriate to sanction the loading and unloading company for going on strike without giving the operator sufficient notice. Sanusi, the airline that delayed and canceled several flights last Monday, called for an independent investigation into the severe disruption.
“If NAHCO is found guilty of not notifying (NOTAM) airline employees notifying authorities of an impending strike within five days, there are ways to punish them. license. Responsible persons can also be identified and defined. We must take responsibility for our actions,” said Sanusi. “Claims must be filed with the Civil Aviation Authority of Nigeria (NCAA) and can join NAHCO and other organizations. There should be an investigation into whether due process was followed and what the hiring process is when you want to strike, especially when performing critical services in your industry and in all industries. For that matter,” said Sanusi. He said air traffic controllers, service companies and fire departments are important and should not go on strike.
“Because unions have the right to strike, they can shut down offices and administratively stop work without disrupting traffic. This has national security implications. Imagine a plane with 300-400 or more passengers. Can’t land because there is no service company. Imagine airline costs! said Sanusa.