Aviation unions to shut down Arik Air Thursday

Arik Air
Arik Air. (Photo Credit: Punch)

Aviation unions will shut down the operations of Arik Air on Thursday, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

The unions, which include the National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, said they would shut down Arik air following the failure of the airline’s management to reinstate its sacked members.

The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria had on February 9 taken over Arik air as a result of the airline’s bad debt to the company and other creditors.

AMCON thereafter appointed Roy Ilegbodu as manager of the airline.

But Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE, while speaking on Wednesday in Lagos, accused the new management of intolerance to unionism.

Mr. Abioye alleged that the new management, through a recent circular, warned the workers not to join the unions in the industry and had refused to address all the pending issues affecting the workers.

“Among the issues are the review of conditions of service, remittance of necessary union deductions to their respective unions and the non-reinstatement of sacked union leaders in the airline,’’ Mr. Abioye said.

The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the union leader recalled that the unions had in December 2016 had issues with the then management of the airline, which led to the shutdown of Arik’s operations for a day, before the intervention of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA.

“Certain commitments were arrived at from the meeting and we were supposed to have a feedback early this year,” Mr. Abioye said.

“When we got there, the former Arik Air management was not in sight and we later learnt that the AMCON management has taken over the airline.

“As expected from responsible union bodies, we wrote a letter to the new management seeking for a meeting with them, which was approved. We got to that meeting and the airline’s Receiver Manager, acted in an ‘uncivilised’ manner.

“He walked out the leaders of the three unions and asked his bodyguards to send us out,” he said.

He, however, noted that contrary to expectation, a circular was issued by the carrier’s vice president, human resources, to the effect that Arik workers should shun unionism.

The unions, therefore, have resolved to shut down the airline Thursday, Mr. Abioye said.

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