FG vows to enforce ban on aviation workers strike

The Federal Government has promised that it will no longer allow strikes by aviation workers around the airports due to the essential services they offer. 

The government also vowed to enforce the Civil Aviation Act (2022) section, disallowing employees from embarking on flight-crippling strikes in the future. 

This was made known on Wednesday by the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika while speaking with State House correspondents at the Council Chambers after the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. 

FG apologizes for a recent strike by aviation workers 

The Federal Government apologized to air travellers over the industrial action of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, which halted inbound and outbound flight operations on Monday. 

  • The minister said, “This is very important to the travelling publicFirst, we apologize to our teeming passengers in this difficult moment. There are other ways of channelling issues when they arise but they are not permitted to go on strike because aviation is an essential service.’’ 

This will not happen again 

Sirika during his chat described the industrial action as wrong, inhumane, and against the law, promising to enforce the relevant sections of the Civil Aviation Act 2022 to prevent future disruptions. 

He noted that the piece of legislation prohibits industrial action and riots of such scale in the aviation sector. 

  • He added, “Second, this will not happen in the future by the grace of God. And the reason is simple; aviation is an essential service. The Act has been assented to by Mr President, so strikes and riots around our airports are prohibited by the laws of the land.
  • “Now that we have the Act in place and assented to by Mr President and passed by the National Assembly, we will deal with it according to the law.’’ 

Describing aviation as an essential service, the minister argued that the striking workers had other less-disruptive avenues to voice their grievances. 

  • He said, “We will ensure no essential service is being disrupted by anybody no matter how aggrieved. There are other channels of channelling issues when they arise but they are not permitted to go on strike because aviation is an essential service and is the law of the land now.
  • “I will give you an example, there was an airline that had to return to base because it couldn’t land. Imagine if there was a patient on that aircraft. Imagine somebody attending to a severe issue or matter at hand or business or a student trying to catch up with an exam and then because of somebody who is aggrieved some other person will die.
  • “Government will no longer allow that. So it’s in the law of the land, check the Civil Aviation Act, it’s been assented to and it’s going to take place soon, in fact now, from today we will not allow that.
  • “As a government, our ears are always open, the government is open to listening to any grievances and there are procedures for dealing with this kind of grievances. They should please desist from this. It is wrong. It is inhumane. It is not allowed. It is not permitted and we will not be permitted any longer.” 

In case you missed it 

  • Nairametrics had on Monday, January 23, 2023, reported that hundreds of air passengers were stranded across major Nigerian airports early in the day, as workers of the NAHCO Plc embarked on an indefinite strike over “poor wages, thereby disrupting local and international flights for several hours.
  • The aggrieved aviation workers were reported to have earlier issued a 5-day strike notice to the NAHCO management. They requested, among other things, a 100% increment in pay following the general upward review of ground handling changes in the sector.
  • Despite NAHCO management’s approach to the court to prevent the looming industrial action, the workers still went ahead to withdraw their services.
  • The aviation workers later in the day on Monday, January 23, suspended the industrial action.