Save for a last minute change, aviation unions in Nigeria have concluded plans to once again picket the operations of the troubled Arik Air over the failure of the airline’s management to re-instate sacked union leaders and several other issues in the airline.
The unions; National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), threatened to shut down the operations of the airlines nationwide, commencing from today.
The General Secretary of NUATE, Mr. Olayinka Abioye in an interview at the union’s headquarters at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos accused the new management of intolerance to unionism in the airline.
He alleged that the new management through a circular recently warned the workers not to join the unions in the industry and had refused to address all the pending issues as they affected workers in the airline.
Among the issues are; review of conditions of service, remittance of necessary unions deductions to their respective unions and the non-re-instatement of sacked union leaders in the airline.
He recalled that the unions in December 2016 had issues with the former management of the airline, which led to the shutdown of the operations of the carrier for a day before the intervention of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), which led to the suspension of the strike.
He added: “Certain commitments were extracted from the meeting and we were supposed to have a feedback early this year, but when we got there early this year, Arik Air management was not insight and we later learnt that Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) management has taken over the airline.
“As expected from responsible union bodies, we wrote a letter to the new management seeking for a meeting with them, which was approved. We got to that meeting and the Receiver Manager, Mr Mr. Oluseye Opasanya, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), acted in an uncivilised manner. He walked out the union leaders of the three unions and asked his bodyguards to send us out.
“Contrary to expectations, a circular was issued by the Vice President Human Resources of the airline to the effect that Arik workers should shun unionism because the airline has zero tolerance for trade union. That is a criminal offence. Thereafter, the same management wrote a petition against the unions to the Inspector-General of Police, claiming that the unions threatened him and put in a lot of lies.
“The workers want to join the unions, which they have the right to do by the Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 and International Conventions. I don’t know the body language of the management. They don’t want it to happen.