By Uche Mbah
For the second day running, the Murtala Muhammed 2, or MMA2 terminal of the Lagos Airport has been under lockdown due to the picketing being effected by labor unions in the industry. The picketing was advised by the backlog of salaries owed staff and general conditions of service as well the sacking of twenty Aviation staff.
This expectedly has caused untold hardship to travelers, who are being forced to relocate to the General Aviation Terminal, GAT, run by the Federal Airports Authority, FAAN. MMA2 is being managed by concessionaires.
Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) worked under their umbrella body to effect barricades of the roads in front of MM2, causing so much discomfort to even commuters that routinely pass the area. Domestic Air Activities have been crippled as passenger travels were disrupted. Aerocontractors, Dana Air, MaxAir and other airlines who operate from MM2 were affected. Banks and other auxiliary services were affected including eateries and gift shops. Most Airlines have moved to GAT to be able to satisfy their customers, but Aero shuttles between GAT and MM2. Pressures are on GAT, as they have to struggle to cope with increased traffic.
Bicourtney Air Services Ltd, the concessionaire of the terminal, has rushed to court to get a court injunction to restrain the unions from embarking on industrial action.
The bone of contention appears to be the 20 sacked workers of Bicourtney that they have refused to reinstate. Discussions were said not to be making headway before the current picketing. Earlier, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, tried to intervene but had to withdraw at a stage in the negotiations.
Meanwhile, local Airlines have been counting their losses, and passengers have to come early for boarding to avoid the chaos of rush at the GAT.