Nigeria’s aviation workers on Monday picket the offices of Arik Air and shut down its operations over anti-labour practices and nonpayment of salaries.
The workers, under the aegis of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), also alleged that Arik Air had placed 90 per cent of the workforce on compulsory leave.
They further added that the airline has not paid them salaries since April, 2020.
The Chairman of ATSSAN, Arik Air Branch, Mr Innocent Atasie, said efforts made to resolve the problem between the workers and the Arik Air management had failed hence the workers’ action.
Atasie said that the unions were miffed that there had been no payment of staff salaries since April after placing 90 per cent of the workforce on compulsory leave.
The unions said the strike would continue indefinitely, until their demands were met by the management of Arik Air.
Their demands include payment of outstanding salaries arrears, signing of Conditions of Service, remittance of Pension, Tax, and statutory deductions to the appropriate authorities and to resolve other anti-labour issues.
Others were payment of salary arrears of seven months, with a commitment to pay salaries as at when due, henceforth.
Atasie said that the unions also wanted the immediate review of all employee remunerations which had remained stagnant since the inception of Arik Air, over ten years ago.
On Sept. 13, the management of Arik Air had sent an SOS to the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, asking for his intervention over the planned industrial action by unions scheduled to commence on Sept 14.
The Chief Executive Officer of Arik, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, had made the appeal in a letter to the minister entitled, “Re-Unions in Arik Air threaten to down tools.
Meanwhile, stranded Arik Air passengers expressed disappointment over the airlines shut down without informing the passengers.
A passenger, who had to buy another ticket from another airline to his destination, said government should sanction Arik Air for not reaching out through text messages or e-mail to customers on the planned strike.
Another passenger accused the airline of not addressing its stranded passengers. She described the situation as disheartening.
Mr Adebanji Ola, the Communications Manager of Arik Air said that the management has scheduled a meeting with the unions on Sept. 15 to resolve all matters.
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