Passengers stranded at airports as NLC bars flight to Owerri, others

Hundreds of passengers were this morning left stranded at many of the airports across the country as the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) disrupted flights they declared a “No Flight To Owerri” action at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos.

While the action lasted, airlines were equally made to go through excruciating pain as some of them lambasted the organized labour unions for involving them in an action they knew nothing about.

Not only were flights to or from Imo disrupted, but flights to other destinations were also prevented, action analysts said was thoughtless.

The organised labour on Tuesday declared a “No Flight To Owerri”, the Imo State capital city following a violent disruption of Workers’ Day celebrations in the state on May 1 by thugs alleged to be agents of the state government.

The declaration which was contained in a letter sent to the Lagos State Council of the Labour Centre signed by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) secretary-general, Comrade Emmanuel Ugboaja, in Abuja, directed members in the aviation sector to paralyse flight to Imo State beginning from mid-night of Wednesday, May 3, 2023.

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The labour centre also resolved to embark on a comprehensive industrial action against the Imo State Government beginning from Wednesday.

The decision over the industrial action was reached Monday night at the end of an emergency joint central working committee meeting of the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC).

According to Comrade Ugboaja and the general secretary of the TUC, Comrade Nuhu Toro, members of the congress are to ensure all efforts to achieve full compliance.

“It was resolved that we embark on a comprehensive industrial action against the State Government beginning from Wednesday the 3rd day of May 2023. Consequently, as part of our effort to enforce compliance, you are kindly requested to work with the TUC and other affiliates especially those in the Aviation sector to ensure that no flight leaves the Lagos Airport to Owerri, Imo state starting from 12 Midnight today.”

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The communique also said: “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.

“That the government of Imo state has become a serial abuser of workers rights and privileges committing several infractions in the process and has therefore made sane and civil society dialogue difficult in the state.”

Consequently, the joint CWC-in-session resolve to; withdraw the guarantee of industrial peace in Imo state, and embark on a comprehensive shutdown of Imo state beginning from Wednesday, all affiliates of both the NLC and TUC in Imo State to therefore withdraw their services in the state beginning from 12 midnight on Tuesday until the state Government restores and guarantees the protection of lives and properties of workers in the state.

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Aviation unions

Other demands include, that the state government sign the agreement reached between it and workers in the month of March 2023.

The labour centre said it will monitor the compliance of affiliates with the decisions of the joint CWC in session and will not hesitate to escalate it nationwide if positive results are not achieved quickly within days.

Wole Shadare