By Uche Amunike
The ongoing Nigerian aviation workers’ strike, which left passengers stranded at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja starting from Monday April 17, 2023, has caused a lot of chaos at the country’s airport which might lead to total shutdown if the demands of the Aviation workers are not met by the federal government.
Even though the Ministry of Aviation pleaded with the striking workers to end the strike, seeing as many passengers were left stranded nationwide.
The Nigerian aviation workers strike kicked off after their meeting which was convened by the Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Captain Musa Nuhu, ended in a stalemate.
Captain Nuhu had called the meeting with the aim of pleading with the unions to halt their planned two-day warning strike with representatives of the unions that attended the meeting.
Speaking to Newsmen, Monday, at the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, the General Secretary, Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service Technical and Recreational Services Employees, Sikiru Waheed averred that the first day of the strike was a mere warning to both the government and the public, while the second day of the strike would be more intense, urging intending travellers to shelve their trips to avoid disruption. So many passengers missed their flights as a result of the action of the aviation workers’ action, while the lack of communication and aid from the airport officials greatly contributed to the confusion and chaos that took over the airport.
The Nigerian aviation workers strike led to a blockage of the entrance to the domestic terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, leaving more passengers stranded. This made the Federal government issue a strong plea, through the Ministry of Aviation, for the unions to end the strike action, to no avail.
The assured the striking workers that their minimum wage would be adjusted and paid soon,, as they requested and urged them to resume work.
Speaking, through a statement, the spokesman for the Ministry of Aviation, Oluseyi Odutayo, expressed the displeasure of the ministry over the strike action, especially as they had reached out to address their demands.
Describing the strike as unnecessary, he stated that it would merely increase hardship on Nigerians and cause untold economic losses, asking them to sheathe their swords and end the strike as a way of contributing their own quota towards the growth of the aviation sector, thereby helping to make it the hub of Africa.
The statement partly read: ‘The Unions should also note, if they are not already aware, that consequential adjustment of the minimum wage has been finalized and about to be paid anytime soon. We have always conveyed this information in the several conversations and meetings held with the Unions.’
‘The Management of the Ministry of Aviation is open to continuous engagement with the Unions to improve their welfare. However, this can only be done in an atmosphere of peace and mutual respect.’
‘Let me reiterate that while we are appealing to the Unions to sheath the sword, the Management will view seriously any behaviour by any Union that is likely to lead to a breakdown of law and order at our airports.’