Sources within the local wing of the Murtala Muhammed Airport Two (MMA2), Lagos, have revealed that the management of Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited, under the leadership of Dr. Wale Babalakin, compelled its staff members to stage an anti-union protest in the terminal.
The protest was allegedly targeted at frustrating the protest by the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) demanding the reinstatement of 62 workers who were sacked for participating in union activities.
A staff at MMA2, who preferred not to be named, told SaharaReporters that the management told some members of staff to stage a protest, just as some media organisations were invited to cover the event.
“The management forced some of the workers to do a protest to counter the one organised by the unions. The action was against the wish of the workers. While some pressmen were outside covering the unions, Bi-Courteny arranged some journalists and took them inside the terminal to record those they forced to protest.
"Most of those protesting inside the terminal are cleaners. They work for Sparkleen Cleaning Services at MMA2. They had to carry the placards in order to save their jobs. The workers that they used were given soft drinks and bottles water when they finished," the source disclosed.
A worker at the airport also said Bi-Courteny employed the services of a security company to ensure the protesters do not enter the terminal.
“The Head of Security of Bi-Courtney brought in some private security personnel to bar the union members from entering the terminal. They used dogs to send the protesters outside the airport.”
Some workers who supported the protest, however, expressed joy that the action recorded huge success as operations were totally brought to the ground.
When contacted, the Head of Security of Bi-Courtney, MMA2, declined to respond, stating he could not comment on the presence of private security personnel in the terminal.
The aviation unions, however, called off their strike on Thursday night following the signing of an agreement between them and BASL.