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Passengers, motorists stranded as aviation unions protest at Lagos airport 

Aviation unions on Monday made good their threat to protest what they called Police brutality at the premises of Caverton Helicopters inside the Murtala Muhammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos.

Many passengers, airport users and motorists were stranded on the roads leading to the airport as the unions carried out the protest.

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It would be recalled that the unions had last week blocked the airport roads after some of their members were allegedly beaten up by police who were drafted by Caverton to quell the planned demonstration over non-payment of their redundancy benefits.

After securing the release of their 12 members, the unions vowed to mobilize for a bigger action at the company.

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The unions involved in today’s protest included the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE); Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN); Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals (ANAP); National Association of Air Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations Civil Services Technical and Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE).

The unions also picketed two catering companies, ASL and Servair for suspending some of their staff for alleged involvement in union activities.

Chanting solidarity songs, they started their protest match from the Freedom Square near the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) headquarters to Caverton Helicopters Limited.

They alleged that the airline sought the help of the police to beat up their members for protesting the non-payment of their benefits after being disengaged by the company.

The National President of NUATE, Comrade Ben Nnabue said it was unacceptable for Caverton management to involve the police in the matter after reneging in the agreement reached with them to pay their staff who were declared redundant.

ATSSSAN Secretary General, Comrade Francis Akinjole, stated that the crude method employed by the company to have their members beaten up and molested by the men of the police from the Rapid Response Squad (RRS) Oshodi for fighting for their rights was condemnable.

Daily Trust however learnt that the management of Caverton helicopters called for a meeting with the unions with a view to resolving the impasse.

Sources said Caverton pleaded with the protesting unions to give it six weeks to pay the redundancy benefits.

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