Strike:Passengers Stranded At Imo Airport, Lagos To Owerri Flights Barred

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As Labour, Imo State Govt Engage In Verbal War

Airline passengers are stranded at Imo Airport, Owerri, over the face off between the Imo State Government and the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC.

Airplanes are barred from taking off or landing at the airport after Labour instructed workers in the Aviation sector at the airport to down tools.

This has frustrated airline travellers who were caught in the web of a feud between labour and the Imo State government.

The Labour Union had also declared a “No flight to Owerri action” at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos, which affected flights to and fro Imo State, forcing passengers coming to Imo State to seek alternate arrangements.

Trouble had began during the Workers May Day celebrations which was disrupted by thugs suspected to be acting on the prompting of the Imo State government.

In a letter signed by NLC Secretary General, Emmanuel Ugboaja, in Abuja, it stated that labour would embark on a comprehensive industrial action against the State government with effect from Wednesday 3rd May, 2023.

The communiqué read in part, “It was resolved that we embark on a comprehensive industrial action against the State Government beginning from Wednesday the 3rd day of May 2023.t 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.

“The government of Imo State has grossly violated the rules of engagement among 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”

Among the demands, the union said the state government must sign the agreement reached between it and workers in the month of March 2023.

In a swift reaction, the Imo State government accused the NLC National President, Joe Ajaero, of working for the enemies of the state government.

The State Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Declan Emelumba, in a statement , said, “It is to the glory of God that, contrary to the vain wishes of the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Joe Ajaero, Imo workers and pensioners converged at Ndubuisi Kanu Square , Owerri, on May 1st, 2023, for yet another memorable May Day celebration. The smiles and clear expressions of joy on the faces of the thousands of workers who turned up for the historic event clearly showed that they were neither coerced nor intimidated to be present. They were simply there on their own accord.

“Yet, Ajaero, in his reckless press statements, claimed that the leaders of the 22 industrial unions of the NLC in the state who organised the Labour day celebration, were stooges of the state government. This is simply laughable because these union leaders were there long before Ajaero emerged the President of NLC. It is an open secret that the grouse Ajaero has with these leaders is that they refused to be recruited into his hate force to amplify his rabid hatred for the governor and the state government, fired purely by his selfish political and clannish interests.

“That was why he negated due process and quickly moved to install a Caretaker Committee for NLC in Imo State, and went on to appoint his classmate, friend and kinsman the chairman.”

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