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Breaking: Unions Ground Arik Air


Nigeria’s largest airline, Arik Air‎, is currently grounded by protest embarked upon by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of NIGERIA (ATSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and ENGINEERS (NAAPE) .
Reports from the aviation industry says, the unions, which on Wednesday threatened to shut down office of the airline in Lagos, Thursday, made good their threat.
Among issues that led to shutting down the airline include Arik management’s failure to reinstate its sacked members.
Tbe Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) had on February 9 took over Arik as a result of the airline’s bad debt to the company and other creditors.
AMCON had thereafter appointed Roy Ilegbodu as manager of the airline.
Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE, while speakng on Wednesday in Lagos, accused the new management of intolerance to unionism.
Abioye alleged that the new management, through a recent circular, warned the workers not to join the unions in the industry and had refused to address all the pending issues affecting the workers.
“Among the issues are the review of conditions of service, remittance of necessary union deductions to their respective unions and the non-reinstatement of sacked union leaders in the airline,” Abioye said.
According to Abioye, certain commitments were arrived at from the meeting earlier held in 2016 and by now the unions were supposed to have a feedback early this year.
However, Abioye said: “When we got there, the former Arik Air management was not in sight and we later learnt that the 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 airline’s Receiver Manager, acted in an ‘uncivilised’ manner.
“He walked out the leaders of the three unions and asked his bodyguards to send us out,” he said.
He, however, noted that contrary to expectation, a circular was issued by the carrier’s vice president, human resources, to the effect that Arik workers should shun unionism.
The unions, therefore, have resolved to shut down the airline Thursday, Abioye said.
Staff of the airline on Thursday shut down its operations, as the entrance of the airline’s office at the Lagos airport was barricaded.
“We will resist all forms of intimidation,” a staff of the airline said.

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