Aero sheds workforce by 60 per cent

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Beleaguered Aero which has been taken over by Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has reduced its staff strength by 60 per cent.

In a statement issued in Lagos, the airline said the decision was it had served notification of redundancy to the affected staff.

However, it said staff who are laid off will receive to their entitlements.

“The affected workers will be able to access their full gratuity as well as a part of their pension to immediately cushion the effect of the development.

“They also stand a chance of being recalled as soon as Aero increases the number of aircraft in its fleet in the near future,” it said

The airline said it had been grappling with huge and unrealistic personnel costs as well as other operational challenges worsened by lack of enough aircraft to keep all the workers meaningfully engaged.

It also stated that it currently has aircraft-to-employee ratio of 1:500 adding that the issuance of notification of redundancy is a business decision that will ensure Aero’s survival.

“The current situation where over a thousand people are basically not engaged due to lack of serviceable aircraft is not sustainable for the airline. The huge monthly salary associated with a bloated workforce will eventually kill the airline, which is not the intention of the current government.

“Government’s intervention in Aero was to save it from total collapse. Therefore, all steps such as this (issuance of redundancy letters) to ensure its survival must be put into consideration to save the airline.

“This decision will immediately reduce the whooping operational cost, which has been stifling Aero; enable the management bring in more aircraft through savings from overheads, pay for C-checks as well as enable Aero have a more manageable and committed workforce in line with international best practices of 50 to 60 personnel to one aircraft unlike what obtains in Aero at the moment,” said Aero.

The airline however stated that those in the maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) and others in critical departments will not be affected by the disengagement.

Part of the redundancy letter made available to News Gazette read: “Following the operational challenges of Aero culminating in loss of business opportunities that adversely affected company finances vis-à-vis operations, we are constrained to place you under redundancy pending a possible future review.

“This decision was communicated to the unions where their understanding was solicited in view of prevailing operational difficulties…whilst Aero appreciates your contribution to the company and continues to regard you as worthy ambassadors, we solicit your understanding as we struggle to stabilize operations and rebuild the company…”

Meanwhile, the president of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Mr. Ahmadu Ilitrus has cautioned the airline’s management of not to give room for industrial unrest.

Ilitrus who said he was not aware of the “purported redundancy notice to workers” however warned that all the affected workers should be paid at the point of the collecting their letters.

The ATSSSAN president who described the development as “unacceptable” said: “We are not against redundancy but what we are saying is that before you sack them, there must be money to pay them and I know Aero does not have the money to pay them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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