…Arik to pay Oct, Nov salaries by Dec. 31
By Sade Williams
Arik Air may have lost millions of naira on Tuesday ( day one of union protest), as it could not operate any of its flights over an indefinite strike embarked upon by aviation unions under the aegis of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Traffic Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN) .
The unions, which immobilised their members at Arik Air headquarters as early as 7.am, even prevented staff from gaining access to their offices and the terminal buildings at both domestic and international wings of the Lagos airport.
The unions had in a statement on Monday, said the strike
Ola Banji, Arik spokesman explained that the representatives of the protesting unions also prevented the staff of the airline from gaining access to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, disabling the checking-in of passengers for both domestic and international flights, adding that access to the airport terminals is fundamental to the airline’s operations for movement of its personnel to ready and dispatch our aircraft for various flights.
He explaimed further tha the union leadership had earlier written a letter to the management of Arik Air on their grievances and a meeting had been scheduled between the two parties for Wednesday, December 21, 2016.
The unions however, he said did not wait for the scheduled meeting or the outcome of the meeting, before embarking on such disruptive and strong-arm tactics against the airline.
“The unions have demonstrated total disregard for the laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria by interfering in the operations of the airline and preventing airline staff from carrying on with their duties of handling the passengers booked for today’s flights.
“The decision not to join the aviation unions is that of the generality of Arik Air and the management of the airline is not involved in any manner and neither can it influence such individual decisions in any form since Unionism is a free will and not a matter of compulsion”, he said.
The airline is however, appealing to all the Security Agencies, the Minister of Aviation, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and all the other stakeholders in the industry ‘to prevail on these aviation unions to allow for operations to commence immediately since this unjustifiable disruption by the unions has already inconvenienced the travel plans of thousands of passengers today’.
“Arik Air sincerely apologise to its esteemed passengers for any inconvenience experienced due to this unwarranted disruption and unlawful action by the unions”, he added.
But in a reaction to the scenario which was almost going out of hands, the NCAA intervened and held a meeting with Arik Air management and union members where it was agreed that October and November salaries shall be be paid on or before December 31, 2016.