Unions Picket Arik Air, Accuse Management of Insensitivity

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In keeping with their threat, aviation sector unions comprising of United Labour Congress (ULC), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) yesterday picketed Arik Air and grounded the airline’s operations.

The unions accessed the airline’s premises as early as 4a.m. and barricaded the gates despite heavy police presence, attributing the reason for disrupting the airline’s operations to the failure of its management to reinstate the sacked union leaders and several other issues in the airline.

The General Secretary of NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye, accused the new management of intolerance to unionism in the airline.

He alleged that the new management through a circular recently warned the workers not to join the unions in the industry and had refused to address all the pending issues as they affected workers in the airline.

Among the issues are: review of conditions of service, remittance of necessary unions deductions to their respective unions and the non-re-instatement of sacked union leaders in the airline.

But THISDAY learnt that the union members were resisted by the workers of the airline who accused the unions of being insensitive to the plight of the airline, recalling that in December at the peak of operations they disrupted the airline, forcing it to cancel over 100 flights and losing over 800 million.

They stated that now that the airline is in a precarious state, they came again to further worsen the situation for Nigeria’s biggest carrier.

“Since Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) took over Arik Air, the airline has cut down its flights to 30 per cent and the management has been able to pay one month out of the two months’ salary the former management of the airline owed staff.

 “Also, many of the airline’s 28 aircraft are parked, only five are still operating, but the day AMCON took over the operations of the airline, it operated about 70 flights but now it operates about 18 flights a day,” the workers said.

In an online statement released by the Social Media Coordinator of the airline, Kayode Badmus, Arik Staff distanced themselves from the disruption.

He stated that no staff of Arik was in support of the action which he described as unnecessary.

In reaction to the picketing of the airline, Arik Air management threatened legal action against the unions.

“It has come to the attention of the Arik management, (under Receivership), that the Lagos State branches of

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