Arik Air begs Minister to intervene over unions’ shut down —
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Arik Air begs Minister to intervene over unions’ shut down

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Following the grounding of activities at its premises on Monday by aggrieved union members, the management of Arik Air has appealed for the intervention of the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika.

The plea was contained in a letter written by Arik’s Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, to the aviation minister.

Recall that members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria, ATSSSAN, who are staff of Arik, downed tools early Monday morning.

The joint union members, who had issued a warning of its planned industrial action last Thursday, are protesting over alleged non-payment of staff salaries since April, after placing 90 per cent of its members on compulsory leave.

Arik Air, however, appealed to the minister to intervene in seeking for the understanding and cooperation of the workers’ unions.

While noting that management had been in discussion with various staff groups and unions, Ilegbodu said the only outstanding area of difference was the request by the unions for a terminal benefit scheme over and above the requirements of the Pension Act.

He described the action of the unions as an abuse of the position of union leadership, adding that the issues in dispute could not pass the test of fairness, as it only affected less than 20 staff out of a workforce of over 1600

“They request for an independent retirement benefits scheme that will be wholly funded by the airline for retiring, resigning or terminated staff.

“This request will receive a lump-sum payment upon exit that will in some cases, double the joint contribution of management and staff under the Pension Act of 2004 as amended.

“While it is the right of staff to share in the prosperity of a company, the request for an additional retirement scheme from a loss-making company, in receivership and whose operations are supported by creditors over and above legal requirements is simply onerous.

“Given the cost-driven challenges in the aviation sector that have seen the majority of airlines fold up in the past years, the request by the unions will set an unsustainable standard for other airlines that are struggling to survive in these difficult times,” part of the letter read.

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