Home Airlines NCAA Steps in to Resolve Turkish Airlines’ Labour Dispute, Stranded Passengers’ Plight

NCAA Steps in to Resolve Turkish Airlines’ Labour Dispute, Stranded Passengers’ Plight

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Some of the stranded passengers and NCAA team headed by Mr. Achimugu at the MMIA, Lagos.

Outrage erupted yesterday at the international airport as 300 passengers booked on Turkish Airlines flights to Istanbul found themselves stranded due to a picketing by the airline’s unions. 

The situation has caused a ripple effect, leaving passengers in both Nigeria and Turkey facing uncertain travel plans.

The Director of Public Affairs and Consumer Protection for the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Mr. Micheal Achimugu, at a media briefing in Lagos, expressed strong concern for the stranded passengers. 

“The President, the Minister of Aviation, and the NCAA are deeply troubled by the plight of these passengers”.

Achimugu emphasized safety and security as top priorities, revealing that the NCAA has already taken steps to address the crisis. 

A fact-finding meeting with Turkish Airlines was held, and the airline has committed to providing hotel accommodation for stranded passengers as directed by the Acting Director General Civil Aviation, Captain Chris Ona Najomo 

Adding to the frustration, Achimugu condemned the “unruly behavior” of the Turkish Airline country manager during the meeting. 

“He was fuming, screaming, and banging tables,” Achimugu recounted. “Thankfully, the situation was brought under control.”

The NCAA’s commitment to protecting Nigerian travelers is clear, Achimugu declared, “We will not tolerate the manhandling of Nigerian passengers anywhere in the world.” 

“The regulatory body is committed to mediating a solution between the airline and the unions “for a hasty solution to this impasse.” Additionally, the NCAA is exploring the possibility of passenger compensation.

Passengers remain anxious as they await a resolution. 

The airline has reportedly cancelled flights for today and tomorrow in both directions between Nigeria and Istanbul, creating a fresh wave of stranded passengers in Turkey. 

The NCAA assures the public that it will take whatever course of action is necessary, whether sanctions or mediation, to ensure a swift and satisfactory resolution.

During a meeting with the aggrieved passengers at the airport by the NCAA team led by Mr Achimugu, the passengers narrated how the development has negatively impacted them.

Fernando Obiekwe Ngozichukwu, a top official at Scandic Hotel in Sweden, is now facing the daunting prospect of losing his job due to his prolonged absence. 

Despite being on leave, the company has been calling him to return to work, leaving him feeling anxious about his job security.

Fernando recounted his ordeal, saying, “I came to Nigeria to bury my late mother in Imo state, but I was unable to do so. I had to put her body in the mortuary and return to Sweden to resume work. My company has been calling me nonstop, and I’ve been sleeping on the floor for two days, my body aching from the discomfort.”

The passengers, including Fernando, appealed to the authorities to intervene and put an end to their harrowing experiences. 

Charles Ifeanyi, a construction worker based in Germany, echoed their plea, urging the government to take action to prevent Nigerians from being mistreated abroad.

It would be recalled that, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) launched a picketing action at Turkish Airlines in Lagos on Tuesday, demanding the reinstatement of staff who were unfairly dismissed, forced to resign, or forced to abandon their duties. 

The NLC is seeking justice for workers who were targeted for their union membership in 2020.

According to the NLC, Turkish Airlines management has been relentless in its efforts to eliminate the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) from the airline. 

The union claims that the management has unfairly dismissed seven out of eleven union members without benefits, using trumped-up charges and a disciplinary committee that was not established in accordance with the airline’s negotiated conditions of service.

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