ARIK Air operations was on Monday disrupted by striking workers demanding payment of their salary arrears of seven months owed them by the airline.The aviation workers’ union are also complaining about the other anti-labour practice of the airline which was taken over by the state-run Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria AMCON due to the indebtedness of its owners.
The airline had written a letter of appeal to the Minister of Labour and Employment, urging him to interface with the aviation unions that threatened to disrupt the airline’s operations over workers’ welfare and non-payment of allowances.
The letter titled: ‘Re-Unions in Arik Air Threaten to Down Tools September 14’, dated September 11, 2020, was written by the Chief Executive Officer, Arik Air in Receivership, Captain Roy Ilegbodu, and directed to the Minister of Labour and Employment as well as copied the Minister of Aviation and the Director-General of NCAA.
“We strongly believe that the threat of strike without an exhaustive use of the various channels of engagement, discussion, consensus and understanding is faulty and unlikely to yield the best outcomes for staff, the company and its faithful passengers.
“It is in fact an abuse of the position of union leadership, as the issues in dispute cannot pass the test of fairness, and only affect, in the short term, less than 20 staff members out of a work force of over 1,600,” the airline stated.
However, following the grounding of activities at its premises yesterday by aggrieved union members, the management of Arik Air has appealed for the intervention of the Minister of Aviation, HadiSirika.The plea was contained in letter written by Arik’s Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu to the aviation minister.
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. Part of the letter read.
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