Arik appeals to clients for understanding as unions picket airline

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The management of Arik Air has apologised to its clients whose travel plans were disrupted on Monday staff it described as “disgruntled.”

Operations of the airlines were shut down by aviation unions over alleged non-payment of staff salaries since April after placing 90 per cent of the workforce on compulsory leave and other anti-labour practices.

The unions – National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) – shut down the airline’s operations nationwide over non-payment of staff salaries since April after placing 90 per cent of the workforce on compulsory leave.

The chairman of ATSSSAN, Arik Air branch, Mr. Innocent Atasie, said the workers resolved to shut down Arik operations nationwide when all efforts made to resolve the problem failed.

Atasie said the unions were miffed that there had been no payment of staff salaries since April after placing 90 per cent of the workforce on compulsory leave.

The unions said the strike would continue indefinitely, until the airline’s management meets their demands.

Their demands included- payment of outstanding salaries and arrears, signing of conditions of service, remittance of pension, tax, and statutory deductions to the appropriate authorities, among others.

Atasie said the unions also wanted the immediate review of all employee remunerations which had remained stagnant since the establishment of the airline in 2006.

But spokesman for the airline, Mr. Adebanji Ola described the picketing as “illegal.”

“the management of Arik Air (in receivership) apologises to all our esteemed customers whose travel plans were disrupted by the picketing of our operations by some disgruntled staff on Monday, September 14, 2020.

“We wish to place on record that the picketing was illegal and has no backing of the aviation unions whose leadership have embraced dialogue by attending mediatory meetings called for Tuesday, September 15, 2020 by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).

“The management strongly condemns this action and once again assures all stakeholders of a safe and conducive working environment.

“We shall also protect the interest of the flying public for a safe, friendly and on time travelling experience.

“We are already working with the ministry of labour and employment, ministry of aviation and Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to resolve all pending issues with the unions and a section of the staff.

“Customers with valid tickets who could not fly on Monday can modify such tickets at no cost for future travels.

“We are working to bring the situation under control and the public will be advised accordingly,” said Ola in a statement.

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