By Adekunle Williams and Solomon Asowata
Lagos – The organised labour on Thursday shut down offices of aviation agencies at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos to press home their demands for the implementation of a new National Minimum Wage.
However, this action did not affect flight operations at the nation’s busiest airport as airlines and passengers went about their respective businesses without harassment from the unions.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC) had called for the warning strike over non-implementation of the national minimum wage.
Their affiliates in the aviation sector, the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP) had shut down the agencies in compliance with the directive.
The union members had at the early hours of Thursday barricaded the offices of the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) and the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
Also shut down were the headquarters of the Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) at the Lagos airport.
Commenting, Mr Frances Akinjole, the Deputy General Secretary, ATSSSAN, told NAN that unions in the sector only carried out a “light” action.
According to him, this is because we are currently engaging on another important assignment outside Lagos.
“It is a decision we collectively took that there will be a strike, but unfortunately one of our sister unions, NUATE, is having its national delegates conference in Asaba today.
“So, we decided to make the protest very light because leadership of the unions are in Asaba.
“We did not want it to look as if the aviation unions are not in solidarity with the national labour movement and that is why we only shut down the offices,” Akinjole said.
He, therefore, urged the Federal and State Governments as well as employers of labour to accede to the demand of the unions.
Akinjole said that the implementation of a new national minimum wage was long overdue.