BASL Sacks Dozens Of Staff Over Union’s Demands

BASL Sacks Dozens Of Staff Over Union’s Demands

Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) says some of its executive members in Bi-courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) have been sacked.

Speaking at a press conference today, ATSSSAN Deputy General Secretary, Comrade Frances Akinjole said: “It is disheartening that we have to invite your attention to a rendition of this type of melancholic renaissance of a dark age which we thought we had buried the sand of time.

We may all recall that a situation occurred sometime in the year 2018 when some set of workers in Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited (BASL) were sacked for expressing their constitutional right of becoming members of a trade union. That sack was of course, regrettably met with the joint aviation unions shutting down of the Murtala Muhammed Airport 2 terminal for two consecutive days. The whole twenty-nine (29) members of our union that were then affected, were unfortunately sacrificed through an uncommon ugly redundancy arrangement. The fallout of the crisis was the grudgingly acceptance of unionism into the BASL by their Management.

Series of intimidation of union members continued in the company, while at the same time, union membership also continued to grow because staff yearning for protection.

Our union concluded the signing of the staff Conditions of Service (CoS) for our members in Bi-Courtney Aviation Services Limited on the 16th of June, 2021 after a rather prolonged negotiation with Management.

Soon (in October 2021) after the execution of the CoS document, a female member of the union resigned her appointment with the BASL when she could no longer condone the intimidation, and presentation of a cheque for her terminal benefits, which she rejected became an issue. The issue was that BASL Management used historical (year by year) computation to calculate her exit pay instead of the expected last (terminal) salary. The rejected cheque denied the beneficiary to the tune of about #3,000,000.00. Section 1.12 of the Conditions of Service provides two months basic salary per year served.

A letter was immediately forwarded to the BASL Management, reporting the complaint and seeking a meeting to trash out the issue.

Series of meetings with the attendance of the highest hierarchy of our union, were held until when we discovered that BASL Management was not sincerely cooperative with the discussions. It took the National President’s initiative to secure the intervention of an outsider mediator (who is known to be very close to the chairman of the company) to bring sanity to our discussions with BASL Management.

During this interval, a number of some other termination/dismissals of members of our union occurred. Cases of termination without recourse to due processes on our members continued to be reported. Even subsequent resignation cases could not be resolved because of the lingering issue of exit payment computation formula.

All these cases were compounded into what we continued to discuss with the Management together with the mediator.

Non-quick resolution of the matters became an issue with our members in Bi-Courtney. Workers’ Congresses were held with resolutions passed, and BASL Management remained adamantly uncooperative. At some points, the rank and file of the membership of the Bi-Courtney branch became very agitated and they came to occupy our National Secretariat by locking the secretariat staff in the rain. Yet our union did not vent any anger of the company.

The realization of the possibility of the company taking to litigation as an option, and considering the fact that we have already overstayed on the issue, our union therefore, jettisoned our demand for the use of terminal salary for computation of exit pay for members and agreed to the use of Management’s option of historical computation. We were thus advised by Management in a meeting where this agreement was conveyed to them verbally, to put our acceptance in writing, and that they would get back to us.

While we were still awaiting the response of Management to paying members their dues on historical basis, Management decided to compile names of staffers who are predominantly union members and exco members for a forced ten days leave of absence. We were all surprised at this embarrassing development.

Thereafter, our union responded with a 7-day ultimatum for them to withdraw the forced leave and to settle the exit pays of our members. BASL Management, on the last day of the 7-day ultimatum, responded with a letter that never attempted to address the issues we raised in the ultimatum.

We did not because of their provocation jump at them, because we were conscious of the sensitivity of the airport in the economic life of our nation. We however issued another 48 hours ultimatum to them in order to address our demands.

At the expiration of the 48 hours, my office was visited by the police, on enquiry mission. The police, later that day held a mediatory meeting with our union and some representatives of BASL Management, where we both agreed with the police, in the Commissioner of police office, to maintain status quo by not doing anything to further aggravate the situation. We, in fact, both agreed to go back to the table..


Immediately we left the Commissioner of Police office that day, BASL Management started sending letters of termination to our branch chairman, secretary, treasurer women leader and 30 other members of our union via their emails.

We had since been awaiting a reversal of their ignoble acts to no avail. This is the reason why we decided to bring this to the whole world.

It is therefore our genuine presumption that we shall not be held liable for any consequential effects of our crave to protect the interests of our members and union as a whole in the best available ways and means to us.”

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Albinus Chiedu

Albinus Chiedu is a journalist, aviation media consultant, events management professional, and author. He has practiced journalism since 2000.

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