NLC, TUC disrupt flights to Owerri, shut Air Peace operations as airline loses over N700m


Posted by Sade Williams


Members of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Wednesday, disrupted all flights to Owerri across Nigerian  airports.

They alleged that workers Day rally was disrupted by thugs alleged to be agents of Imo state government on May 1.

The decision of the action tagged, “No Flight To Owerri” was reached Monday night at the end of an emergency joint central working committee meeting of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

A letter directed members in the aviation sector to paralyse flight to Imo State beginning from mid-night of Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

“The government of Imo State has grossly violated the rules of engagement amongst the Social partners in industrial relations in the country by using thugs to violently disrupt this year’s May Day in Imo State, that properties were vandalised and looted by the invading thugs of the government and that some workers sustained various degrees of injuries as a result of that attack”., they said.

In the process, the unions took over the counters of Air Peace and disrupted all their flights.

Meanwhile, the Air Peace management lamented the situation, claiming the airline has no affiliation with Imo State Government.

The airline claimed it has lost over N700 million to today’s disruption as passengers would also suffer the backlogs of cancellations.

“NLC and TUC officials stormed the Lagos Airport and took over our check-in counters, disrupting all our operations because of an alleged misunderstanding they had with Governor Hope Uzodinma of Imo State. They had written us yesterday, saying that no flight should be operated into Owerri today because, as alleged, Governor Uzodinma disrupted their May Day activities few days ago.

“Air Peace has no affiliation whatsoever with the Imo State Government or Governor Uzodinma. Our duty and commitment are to the Nigerian flying public that have paid us. We have a contract with them to deliver. This morning, they carried out a selective attack on Air Peace, took over our counters and disrupted our operations.

“While they were doing this, another Nigerian airline was allowed to operate into and out of Owerri. They are disrupting over 110 flights of Air Peace. This particular illegal action of NLC and TUC will lead to over N700m loss to the airline. It will equally lead to massive disruptions and cancellations of our flights across the country today, and that will snowball into the coming days, too.

“This is not the first time the NLC or unions will be attacking Air Peace for issues that have no bearing with the airline. There was a time they attacked Air Peace because they were protesting minimum wage with the Federal Government. While the minimum wage was 18,000 naira then, the minimum wage at Air Peace was even 50,000 naira.

“It is more worrisome that the 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. If they have a grouse against Governor Uzodinma, that should be taken to Imo State. Why are they not stopping road transport workers who are going to Imo State?

“Aviation borders on national security and Nigeria has been made a laughing stock in the world.

“We use this opportunity to alert the Nigerian flying public that all our flights will be disrupted today 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.”, Air Peace said.




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