Turkish Airlines buckle, hold talks as NLC suspend strike

The plan by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) to picket Turkish Airlines could not go on as the labour leaders called off the  strike in what would have crippled the carrier’s operations in the country.

The group had promised to picket the airline on March 30, 2021, adding that the mass action would commence in Lagos and Abuja airport toll gates in a letter to the General Manager of the foreign carrier.

The protest was called off after they received directive from the President of the NLC, Ayuba Wabba not to go on with the strike action.

This was after several labour leaders from other allied unions converged at the Lagos airport in hopes to seek reversal of the sack of trade union leaders working in Turkish Airlines.

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Chairperson, NLC Lagos State Council, Sessi Agnes Funmi told journalists that workers demobilised after the airline sought to dialogue with the labour union.

She said, ” Ayuba Wabba was to lead the picketing in Abuja while I was to lead the picketing in Lagos. But late yesterday night, the company called that they want us to sit down and dialogue with them.

“They initially brought one letter and I told them it was not acceptable. Based on that agreement, we are holding them in trust that everything will be resolved before May 1, 2021”.


Turkish Airline

She added, “Turkish Airlines based the sack of staff on the COVID-19, however, I don’t want to buy into that. We are giving them the benefit of the doubt. They sought dialogue and we obliged them. We don’t want companies out of business. They should find ways to consolidate on the COVID-19 situation and help workers in aviation. We want to support them.”

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Funmi made a case for the aviation workers, stressing that their rights should not be trampled upon. She said all workers must be given respect, dignity and an enabling environment to work.

The NLC labour chairperson also warned the carrier that the airline must recall its sacked members before May 1, 2021, and pay all outstanding entitlements fully or face a serious mass action.

She said, “The NLC is fully into the action and we just want to respect the rule of dialogue. This is the last opportunity and we want them to take it seriously. We expect that on or before the recall date, their entitlements paid to them in full. We also look forward to a cordial relationship between employers and employees.”

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Funmi said workers have a right to form associations, underscoring its importance to the industry as she argued that unions have the potential to liberate a company whenever they are facing bad policies.

Wole Shadare