Hundreds of air travellers were stranded across major Nigerian airports early on Monday, as workers of the Nigerian Aviation Handling Company (NAHCO) Plc embark on an indefinite strike over “poor wages.”
Nairametrics gathered that Qatar Airways even had to make an air return to Doha with Nigerian-bound passengers due to the strike action by the NAHCO workers that has paralysed the industry.
A source close to NAHCO confided in our correspondent that the workers were led by their unions – the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE).
NAHCO was warned: The striking workers earlier informed NAHCO of the planned strike. The source claimed that the management pleaded with the workers not to embark on the action, but they ignored the plea.
This it was learnt compelled the management to approach the court in an attempt to stop the workers from embarking on the strike, which failed.
SAHCO evades strike: Apart from NAHCO, Nairametrics learnt that Skyway Aviation Handling Company (SAHCO) Plc was also notified of a similar strike by its workers. But the wage issue was amicably resolved between the two unions and the management of SAHCO.
Losses for airlines: As of this morning (Monday), most of the airlines handled by NAHCO could not land or take off as planned, except the indigenous carriers like Air Peace, which made alternative arrangements to airlift their passengers at all the stations it operates into.
Other international airlines that may be affected by the disruption to work include Virgin Atlantic, Kenya Airways, Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, KLM, Delta Air Lines, Air France, AKSY, Egypt Air and Rwandair amongst others.
The source close to one of the airlines told our correspondent that the management had received a court order restraining the unions from embarking on the strike, but ignored it.
“As of last week, we received a court order, which was duly signed that stopped the unions from embarking on this action, but they ignored it. This is a colossal loss to our revenue and as reasonable unions, one would expect them to obey the court order, but unfortunately, they violated it,” the source said.
Mr Sam Akinrinmade, the Spokesman of NAHCO could not be reached for comments as he declined his call.