Again, Unions To Picket Arik Air Over Breach Of Agreement
…Demands For Re-instatement Of Sacked Union Leaders
The three major unions in the aviation industry barring any last minute changes in strategy will tomorrow; March 23, 2017 once again picket the operations of the embattled airline; Arik Air that is bedeviled by debt over breach of agreement, refusal of the airline’s management to re-instate sacked union leaders and address other issues raised.
The three unions are the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE).
The unions said that they are ready to shut down the operations of the airline nationwide.
Speaking in an interview, the General Secretary of NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye at the union’s secretariat at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, the labour leader accused the new management of intolerance to unionism in the airline.
He alleged that the new management via a circular had warned the workers not to join any unions in the industry and also refused to address pending issues, as they affect workers in the airline.
Some of the unresolved 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.
He recalled that the unions in December 2016 had issues with the former management of the airline, which led to the shutdown of the operations of the carrier for a day before the intervention of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which led to the suspension of the strike.
According to him, “Certain commitments were extracted from the meeting and we were supposed to have a feedback early this year, but when we got there early this year, Arik Air management was not insight and we later learnt that Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (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 Receiver Manager, Mr Mr. Oluseye Opasanya, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), acted in an un-civilised manner. He walked out the union leaders of the three unions and asked his bodyguards to send us out.”
He continued, “Contrary to expectations, a circular was issued by the Vice President Human Resources of the airline to the effect that Arik workers should shun unionism because the airline has zero tolerance for trade union. That is a criminal offence. Thereafter, the same management wrote a petition against the unions to the Inspector-General of Police, claiming that the unions threatened him and put in a lot of lies. The workers want to join the unions, which they have the right to do by the Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and International Conventions. I don’t know the body language of the management. They don’t want it to happen.”
But a source close to the new management, who spoke to Abelnewsng.com on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak for the management stated that the priority of the airline is to stabilise the entity and also ensure that passengers are patronising the airline by providing quality service.
“The priority of the management as it today is to stabilise the airline and ensure that passengers are flying the airline” The source.