The officials of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC) on Wednesday disrupted Air Peace flight operations and stopped the airline from taking off to any destination from its Lagos operational base. The organisations said they were on strike in Imo State against Governor Hope Uzodimma.
Labour sources said that the Congress chose to disrupt Air Peace operations so that its strike action in Imo State would have national impact, as Air Peace operates over 80 flights a day. But workers in the state said work was going on and that they were not on strike.
The management of Air Peace in a statement expressed shock about the disruption of the airline’s services.
The airline in a statement titled, “Deliberate Massive Disruption of Air Peace Operations by NLC and TUC: Air Peace Feels Unprotected, disclosed that the NLC and TUC officials stormed the Lagos Airport and took over its counter, disrupting all its operations because of an alleged misunderstanding they had with Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo State.
The airline said it had written on Tuesday saying that no flight should be operated into Owerri on Wednesday (today) because, as alleged, Governor Uzodimma disrupted their May Day activities a few days ago.
“Air Peace has no affiliation whatsoever with the Imo State Government or Governor Uzodimma. 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,” Air Peace management said.
“While they were doing this, another Nigerian airline was allowed to operate into and out of Owerri. They took over our counters in Owerri, Abuja and Lagos, disrupting over 110 flights of Air Peace. This particular illegal action of NLC and TUC will lead to over N400 million 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.”
Air Peace recalled that it was not the first time the NLC or unions would 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 N50,000.
“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 miscreants at these airports, and this is not the first time.
” We do not understand why Air Peace and aviation should be selected for this kind of treatment. If they have a grudge against Governor Uzodimma, 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 we have been made a laughing stock in the world. Who is going to pay Air Peace over 400 million naira lost today and in the coming days?
“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,” the management of the airline also said.