A Nigerian airline, Air Peace, has accused officials of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) of storming the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Lagos, to disrupt their operations on Wednesday morning.
In a statement on Wednesday which was posted on its official Twitter handle, the airline said the officials of the labour unions also took over their check-in counters.
It said the labour unions had written to them on Tuesday and instructed them not to fly into Imo State from Wednesday because the state governor, Hope Uzodinma, allegedly disrupted the labour unions’ May Day celebration in the state on Monday.
PREMIUM TIMES reported that the labour unions had threatened to shut down the state from Wednesday and asked all their affiliates in the state to withdraw their services from Tuesday midnight over alleged disruption, looting and vandalisation of their properties during the workers’ day celebration.
But Air Peace said the company has no “affiliation” with the state government and that the company was only committed to flying Nigerians who paid for the services.
‘N700 million loss’
The company claimed the attack was “selective” given that another unnamed Nigerian airline was allowed to operate into the state.
“While they (NLC & TUC) do this, another Nigerian airline was allowed to operate into and out of Owerri (the state capital). They are disrupting over 110 flights of Air Peace. This particular illegal action of NLC and TUC will lead to over N700 million loss to the airline,” the company said in the statement.
“It will equally lead to massive disruptions and cancellations of our flights across the country today (Wednesday), and that will snowball into the coming days, too.”
‘Not the first time’
Air Peace claimed the NLC had “attacked” the company before during their protest against N18,000 minimum wage fixed by the Nigerian government, despite the fact that the company’s minimum wage at that time was N50,000.
“It is more worrisome that security agencies are watching while an airline that is discharging its duties to the country is being harassed and hounded by unions at these airports.
“We do not understand why Air Peace and aviation should be selected for this kind of treatment. Why are they not stopping road transport workers who are going to Imo State? If they have a grouse against Governor Uzodinma, that should be taken to Imo State,” the company stated.
“We use this opportunity to alert the Nigerian flying public that all our flights will be disrupted today (Wednesday) and in the coming days because cancellations will follow.
“Any flight we fail to operate today due to this illegal occupation of our operations will lead to cancellations in most sunset airports. Who is going to take responsibility for this? We feel highly unprotected,” it added.
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