Workers protest against planned privatisation of four airports
• Aero passengers stranded as airline cancel flights
Workers in the aviation sector, yesterday, staged a protest in Lagos condemning the Federal Government’s planned concession of the four main airports in the country.
The workers, under the aegis of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN), said giving Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt airports to private investors would lead to mass sack of over 6000 workers in the industry.
Also, passengers of Aero Contractors were, yesterday, stranded for hours, as the airline cancelled all flights around mid-day.Aero’s aircrafts developed technical faults that could not be immediately addressed, hence the decision.
The protesters held placards with the inscriptions: ‘FAAN must survive despite its many enemies’, ‘Airports concession is economic terrorism’, ‘Our local airports cannot be sold’, ‘FAAN workers say no to concession of airports’, and ‘Airports concession is economic sabotage’
The protesting workers, who rallied from Freedom Park, Ojota, to General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and the international terminus of Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, called for a halt to the planned concessioning.
Acting General Secretary of NUATE, Olayinka Abioye, said the workers would resist any attempt by government to carry out the proposition.Abioye alleged that the unions were not unaware some cartels were already coming forward to buy the “viable airports.” He warned interested parties to stay away from any transactions.
General Secretary of ATSSSAN, Francis Akinjole, added that the current spate of “uncontrolled employment and improper placement” of certain category of staff without recourse to Federal Character and Public Service Rule was a ploy to render FAAN insolvent.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had recently given assurance that the interest of Nigerians would not be jeopardised in the resolve.Sirika said the decision was borne out of desire for effective and efficient management of the airports and adequate utilisation of the abundant skilled manpower in the aviation sector.