NIGERIA: Turkish Passengers Stranded As NUATE Shuts Down Airline

Passengers booked on Turkish Airlines were bared from the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos following directive by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) to deny the airline services over the airline’s failure to reverse the sack of executive of the union engaged by the carrier.

Many of the travelers were seen with their luggage at the entrance of the terminal as there were no signs that the airline would be allowed to operate.

In a notice to aviation workers signed by NUATE General Secretary, Ocheme Aba, dated October 27, 2020, NUATE said it was constrained to commence industrial action against the airline with effect from October 29, 2020 indefinitely and throughout Nigeria.

The NUATE scribe was piqued by the action taken by the airline despite clear injunction from the Ministries of Labour and Aviation to that effect.

Aba noted that, “Accordingly, all aviation workers, including ground handling, aviation security and logistic personnel are hereby directed to withdraw all services from the airline until all sacked exco members are reinstated unconditionally, and without loss or pay or service”.

It would be recalled that trade union umbrella organisation Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) had in August given an ultimatum to Turkish Airlines and two other aviation companies to reinstate all workers it had fired or face a shut-down.

Executives from the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) working for Turkish Airlines were fired, along with a total of 169 pilots from Air Peace and Bristow Helicopters.

President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the companies had two weeks to reinstate all workers, or the NLC “will not hesitate to mobilise the weight of the entire Nigerian workforce.”

Wabba said the NUATE executives were fired for fighting for the rights of Nigerian workers, and that the sacking was aimed at “frustrating unionization” and “to enslave Nigerians.”

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