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Aviation Strike: Bi-Courtney opens emergency situation rooms, allays fears

Key highlights

  • Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) has activated emergency situation rooms to monitor and respond to the impending aviation industry strike by unions.
  • BASL hopes that the unions will find alternative ways to express their grievances without resorting to strike actions, and has put measures in place to handle the expected impact of the strike.
  • The strike is due to the non-implementation of wage agreements for workers in the aviation sector, and if the warning strike fails, an indefinite strike will ensue.

Barely 24 hours before the grounding of aviation activities by industry unions, Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL), which operates the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), said it has activated emergency situation rooms to monitor and act accordingly on the industrial action.

A statement by BASL’s Head of Corporate Communications, Oluwatosin Onalaja, said the company still hopes the unions could find other ways to express their agitations without embarking on strikes, given the disruptive nature of strike actions. 

Measures put in place to take care of the expected impact of the strike

The statement also allayed the fears of terminal users, maintaining that high-level security measures have been activated to forestall any unforeseen circumstances. He said:

  • “We sympathise with the government. We equally identify with the needs of the unions. We understand this is a dicey situation and one that must be confronted with equity and acceptable means that would not create further pains for the well-being of the people, businesses, and the Nigerian travelling public in general.
  • “We have opened Emergency Situation Rooms already. These comprise the senior management team, representatives of the entire security officials present at the terminal –Department of State Services (DSS), Police, Army, Aviation Security (AvSEC), and some representatives of the unions.”

A difficult situation

The company described the period as a difficult time for all but hoped that all issues could be resolved in time for normal travelling activities to resume.

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The aviation unions had in a statement on Friday, threatened to disrupt administrative and flying activities for at least two days, between Monday and Tuesday, following the refusal of the government to implement the Condition of Services (CoS) of workers in the past seven years.

A circular to all their members dated April 13, 2023 and seen by Nairametrics explained that the strike was necessary due to the failure of the government to address the wage issues in virtually all the agencies in the sector.

Other issues raised by the unions include; the non-implementation of minimum wage consequential adjustments and arrears for the Nigeria Meteorological Agency (NiMet) since 2019 and the planned demolition exercise of all the agency buildings in Lagos by the Minister of Aviation for an airport city project.

Other agencies affected by the non-implementation of the wages agreement include the Nigerian Airspace Management Agency (NAMA), Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and the Nigerian College of Aviation Technology (NCAT), Zaria.

The unions emphasised that if the warning strike failed, an indefinite strike would ensue.

According to them, the five unions had earlier issued a 14-day ultimatum to Sen. Hadi Sirika, the Minister of Aviation on the issue on February 7, 2023, but failed to take action on the matter.

The unions said that the ultimatum issued to the government had since expired and nothing tangible had been achieved from their efforts.

 

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