By Patiene Danjuma and Godspower Edoza
Flight operations at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja; Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos; and the Port Harcourt International Airport, Rivers State went on as usual on Thursday despite the strike embarked upon by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and the United Labour Congress (ULC).
Checks at the domestic and international wings of the airports indicated that the major airlines operated their scheduled flights without any disruption from labour leaders.
Officials of leading aviation unions including the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and Association of Nigeria Aviation Professionals (ANAP) in a joint statement however said the general strike will commence effectively in the aviation sector on Tuesday October 2.
The statement was jointly signed by their National Presidents and Secretaries.
The unions said they are “fully in support of the ongoing general strike declared by NLC, TUC and ULC”.
The statement added, “However, due to the National Delegates’ Conference of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) scheduled for 26th -28th September, 2018 (before the declaration of the national strike), the Labour Centres have granted moratorium to the aviation unions to allow for conclusion of the NUATE conference.
“In the light of the above, the general strike will commence effectively in the aviation sector on Tuesday 2nd October 2018. All aviation workers are to ensure full compliance and be on alert for further directives”.
THE General Secretary, Air Transport Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN), Francis Akinjole, when contacted said the union officials could not monitor the strike because they were all attending their national delegates conference in Asaba, Delta State.
Akinjole explained that the delegates conference, which will lead to the emergence of a new leadership of NUATE, had been planned before the decision by the labour unions to embark on a nationwide strike.
He said the reason why the strike had yet to be enforced at the airports was because all aviation union leaders were out of their stations.
According to him, aviation unions are strongly with the NLC on the strike even though we are not on ground to enforce it.