BEVERLY HILLS, September 14, (THEWILL) – The operations of Arik Air were on Monday shut down by the 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 included the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN).
NAN reports that all Arik Air operations were shut down including airlines as passengers expressed reservations.
Mr Innocent Atasie, Chairman, ATSSSAN, Arik Air Branch told NAN that the workers resolved to shut down Arik operations nationwide when all efforts made to resolve the problem failed.
Atasie said that 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 their demands were met by the management of Arik Air.
Their demands included- payment of outstanding salaries arrears, signing of Conditions of Service, remittance of Pension, Tax, and statutory deductions to the appropriate authorities and to resolve other anti-labour issues.
Others were payment of salary arrears of seven months, with a commitment to pay salaries as at when due, henceforth.
Atasie said that the unions also wanted the immediate review of all employee remunerations which had remained stagnant since the inception of Arik Air, over ten years ago.
He said that the unions decided to shut down all operations nationwide when all efforts by the unions were aborted.
THEWILL recalls that on Sept. 13, the management of Arik Air asked for the intervention of the Minister of Aviation, Mr Hadi Sirika, over the planned industrial action by unions scheduled to commence on Sept 14.
The Chief Executive Officer of Arik, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, made the appeal in a letter to the minister entitled, “Re-Unions in Arik Air threaten to down tools.
Meanwhile, Mr Adebanji Ola, the Communications Manager of Arik Air said that the management has scheduled a meeting with the unions on Sept. 15 to resolve all matters.