Aviation: Uneasy Calm at Nigerian Airline Aero as Workers allege Mischief in Business Dealings of the Managers

Aero airlines

There is an uneasy calm in Aero Contractors airline again as workers in the employ of the firm have alleged that the management of the company is plotting to sack active union members who are opposed to recent decisions taken that are inimical to the wellbeing of the airline.

This seems like a rehash of the Industrial storm that had earlier been resolved.

Earlier in the Year In a report Published by The Guardian in February Aviation workers’ unions had threatened to picket Aero Contractors over unpaid salary and alleged malfeasance in the management-workers’ relationship at the struggling airline.

Specifically, the aggrieved workers demanded the payment of January salary, and immediate unfreezing of all conditions of service purportedly suspended by Aero’s management. They also sought the immediate termination of Airbus operations, “because it is a threat to the survival of Aero” and a demand for the implementation of the report of the staff placement/re-grading committee.

From Some Social Media Post it seems this Matter has not been effectively resolved.

READ: Africa: Nigerian carrier, Aero Contractors to connect Bauchi, Maiduguri, Carries out Maintenance Checks on 17 Aircraft in aviation sector

According to a statement which has been circulating on social media, lots of unsubstantiated allegations have been made against the Managers. The statement is Unsigned but looks like it came from the Workers Union because it is a rehash of the earlier allegations released in January but this time with more details.

As at the time of this report there has been no response from the Airline to the allegations.

Some of the unsubstantiated allegations in the Statement says”: “The world deserves the truth about the ills going on in Aero Contractors, perpetrated by the present management of be the airline.

The airbus previously leased by Aero Contractors from the House of 5 A’s was part of a high calibre plan to overtake the running of the company (Aero Contractors) by some mischievous individuals from within and outside the airline.

These persons orchestrated and signed a dubious contract for the lease of the aircraft where only three (3) seats out of the one hundred and eighty (180) seat capacity of the aircraft was allocated to Aero per flight, while 5 seats go to settle insiders with the company that works to perfect their plan.

These insiders ensure that the leased aircraft convey the majority of the passengers on any route House of 5 As sees viable. The initial purpose for leasing the aircraft as stated in the contract was that the aircraft were to operate in routes Aero does not have a presence, thereby expanding the reach of the company.

However, less than a month that the operation commenced, they started to operate routes that Aero has invested to establish, routes that are being serviced by Aero-owned aircraft thereby relegating our aircraft in favour of the Airbus.

All through their brief period of operation, they operate the juicy routes while Aero aircraft operate routes with very few passengers.

The challenges became more visible when Aero could no longer generate enough revenues that they started owing staff salaries for two months. This made employees of the airline ask questions about the operations of the airbus aircraft which was seen to be detrimental to the fortune of the airline and the welfare of staff.

It was as a result of the effort of staff to expose to the world the ills and corruption going on in the airline and to avoid negative publicity the people behind the airbus aircraft had to pull out.

The retrieval of the aircraft from Aero is not because of low passenger figures as being wrongly circulated by these mischievous individuals but as a result of the efforts of staff for the survival of the airline.

The pull-out should have been a good thing for Aero but as it is said “corruption will always fight back”. The insiders placed in strategic positions, now seeing that they will not be getting their kick-backs anymore, had to strategize fast.

They came up with false information that Aero is operating old aircraft that are not reliable. This plan was to force Aero to retire all their aircraft and allow the owners of the airbus to have a field day.

Aero operates the Boeing 737 classic generation and the oldest of them all just clocked 30 years. This class of aircraft can operate up to 85,000 cycles and 100,000 flight hours logged to it.

Boeing, the aircraft manufacturer’s website is accessible to all. The Aero-owned aircraft have not operated close to half of these figures. The information released by Aero management is not factual; an aircraft is as good as its maintenance records.

On another front, the insiders using their well-placed position opted to frustrate the company by making it operate at a loss as much as possible. This they are currently and effectively doing by blocking the sales of aero flights on our sales portal when there are still available seats on the flight.

Customers cannot book for flight as the portal displays no seat available, but in reality, there are less than 30 passengers out of 100 seat capacity booked for that service.

This present act is traced to the commercial manager that came to Aero from Arik Air which is another anomaly because he is still a full-time staff of Arik, a strong competitor to Aero.

Currently, the insiders are on the path to disseminate the unions by any means possible as they are seen to be standing in their way. On the 26th of April, Aero Contractors management sent an invitation to all the three union presidents (National Association of Aircraft Pilot and Engineers (NAAPE), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN)) to a secret meeting with the hope to buy them over in their next scheme of devious plans.

The presidents sensing their scheme, as no chapter/branch executives will be allowed to be in attendance, had to request that the meeting be rescheduled to another date and the invitation should be extended to the branch executives. Information reaching us is that they still are planning on contacting the presidents of the three unions unofficially for obvious reasons. They want to selectively pick on active union members and send them out of the company without due process.

The most recent grand plan from the think-tank is to find a way to make employees revolt, and they will hinge on it to shut down and after a while resume back by calling only those they know will not interfere with their plans.

On coming back, the employees will be asked to accept not to join the union, and for ease of manipulation, employees will all be on a casual contract. There was a redundancy exercise in 2016 where more than 300 employees were asked to go home in a bid to streamline the manpower of the airline. Most of the staff affected by that exercise have not been paid their entitlement up till now.

When this present management came on board, barely a year ago, they went into a recruitment spree through the back door, undermining the efforts of the immediate past CEO to stabilize the airline. They now plan to unilaterally (without any form of consultation) slash employees’ salaries by 40%, a salary that was last reviewed in 2008. Certainly, they know that this exercise will create agitations and uproar amongst the staff, and they are adamant about towing that path.

The letters to this effect are scheduled to be issued to employees on the 29th, of April 2022.

Aero Contractor’s present management has deliberately decided to pauperize the employees, they have willingly decided to hold back salaries from February till date just in a bid to coarse or manipulate unions and employees to accept their evil plans.

Everything happening is well planned, hence we use this medium to call on all concerned and well-meaning Nigerians, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, the Ministry of Aviation, and the Ministry of Labour and Employment to come to our aid.

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