Nigerian domestic carrier Air Peace engaged the services of the Nigeria Police Force, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) and Aviation Security (AVSEC) to forestall the threat by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to disrupt its flight operations on Thursday.
A SaharaReporters correspondent reporting from the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) of Murtala Muhammed Airport), Lagos, observed that the airline engaged police officers from outside the Airport Command to prevent the NLC and other aviation unions from disrupting its services.
The police and NSCDC were stationed at different locations at the terminal.
The presence of the police officers and other security agencies appeared to successfully prevent the union members from picketing the airline as threatened earlier in the week.
However, the unions demonstrated outside the terminal and danced to the tunes of Fela Anikulapo Kuti and other songs with their loud speakers.
The unions had accused the airline, along with Med-View, FirstNation and Azman, of preventing its staff who were willing to join the unions from doing so, alleging that many of them were threatened with sack letters.
Some stern looking security agencies were seen at the entrance of the GAT, possibly to prevent the unions from gaining entry into the terminal while others were seen moving around the terminal with their guns.
The General Secretary of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Olayinka Abioye, speaking at the venue, wondered why the airline engaged the services of security operatives outside the airport command, stressing that the airline had a lot to hide.
He explained that the unions were not out to disrupt the operations of the airline or any other airline in the industry, rather to sensitize the workers of their needs to join any unions of their choice.
He explained that the campaign train would tomorrow move to Nnamdi Azikiwe Airport , Abuja, stressing that the unions would no longer allow casualization of workers in the industry.
The union leader also disclosed that the NLC and the House of Representatives were already making enquiries about organizations that refused to allow its staff to join unions or still engage in casualization of workers, stressing that actions would be taken against such organizations before the end of the year.
He added that the sensitization rally would move to the the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos, before the end of November, stressing that airlines working at the terminal would also be warned against casualization, which he said was a threat to security.
“I want to believe that Air Peace has some skeletons in its cupboard because there is no reason why extra security should be added to what the Airport Command has. It is inappropriate and unnecessary for an employer of labor in our sector to take the step the airline has taken.
“We have a Commissioner of Police seated in the airport and there are responsible police within the airport. These are police officers who have been dealing with the unions for more than 20 years and we are a very responsible body, even when we want to embark on industrial actions we write officially to the Commissioner’s office who disseminates our letters to all the security outposts for numbering, and as you can see the police from the airport are here.
“The NLC and the House of Representatives have written to us asking us to give them names of companies within the aviation sector and airlines where there is casualization of workers or those organizations that prevent their workers from joining the unions.
“We have complied with that directive. We have supplied names and I tell you before the end of November, a lot of things will happen here,” he said.