Africa: Nigerian carrier, Arik Air apologizes for operational hitch caused by aviation union, declares 300 staff redundant

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Nigerian carrier, Arik Air has apologised to all of the airline’s passengers whose travel plans have been disrupted by the picketing carried out by a section of the aviation workers’ union, the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) on Thursday, December 3, 2020.

This is just as the management of the airline (In Receivership), declared 300 of its staff redundant due to its inability to meet up its obligation as the impact of Covid-19 bites harder.

The Manager, PR & Communications of Arik Air, Adebanji Ola, according to a report by nigerianflightdeck.com, said the picketing disrupted operations in Lagos thereby preventing the airline’s personnel from processing passengers at both the Murtala Muhammed Airport Domestic Terminal 1 and 2 (MMA2).Arik staff upbeat over CoS, others as unions meet airline management, NCAA.

“We are working relentlessly on resolving the impasse and assure our esteemed customers that normal flight operations will resume soonest.

“Passengers that were affected by the disruptions can revalidate their tickets for future flights at no extra cost. Passengers groan, Arik Air apologizes; as unions ground airline’s flights nationwide.

On December 2, 2020 NUATE issued a notice to its workers in Arik Air calling for an indefinite action until its twin demands of fully recalling all staff an signing the conditions of service.

The letter signed by General Secretary Ocheme Aba read,” As per outcome of the Congress meeting of 2nd December, 2020 and based on the fact that management has completely failed to respond in any way to the twin demands conveyed from the previous meeting, and the ultimatum having elapsed from 1st December 2020; it is hereby directed by the National Secretariat that all services be withdrawn from Arik Air with effect from 3rd December, 2020.”

Union unrest: Arik Air writes Ministry of Labour explains position, seeks intervention.

The outcome of the letter resulted in Thursday’s picketing and shutdown of Arik Air causing untold hardship to the airline passengers.

Commenting of the 300 staff who have made redundant, Adebanji Ola said: “Arising from the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the constrained ability of the airline to complete heavy maintenance activities and return its planes to operations, stunted revenues against increasing operational costs, the management of Arik Air (In Receivership) has declared 300 staff members redundant to its current level of operations.”

In order to ameliorate the impact of the new development on the affected employees, Arik said the discussion has commenced with the aviation union on how to prepare redundancy package. “The leadership of the impacted unions have been contacted to negotiate a redundancy package for the affected staff.”
“It is important to note that over 50% of Arik Air’s workforce of over 1,600 staff have been on furlough in the past six months on a base allowance.”

The carrier regrets letting go of the affected. “Decisions to let go off staff is naturally a difficult decision. Arik Air wishes the impacted staff well in their future endeavours.”

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