ARIK Air operations on Monday were shut down by aviation unions over the nonpayment of staff salaries since April when the company placed 90% of its employees on compulsory leave among other anti-labour practices. The unions said workers would be on indefinite strike until their demands were met by the management of Arik Air.
The unions include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), reports, stating that all Arik Air operations were shut down nationwide when all efforts made to resolve the problem failed.
NAN quoted Comrade Innocent Atasie, ATSSSAN Chairman, Arik Air Branch, stating that workers were angry as they have not been paid their salaries since April after 90% of them had been sent on compulsory leave.
Their demands included- payment of outstanding salaries arrears, signing of Conditions of Service, remittance of Pension, Tax, and statutory deductions to the appropriate authorities and to resolve other anti-labour issues.
Others were payment of salary arrears of seven months, with a commitment to pay salaries as at when due, henceforth.
Comrade Atasie said that the unions also wanted the immediate review of all employee remunerations which had remained stagnant since the inception of Arik Air over ten years ago.
NAN reports that on September 13, 2020, the management of Arik Air had asked for the intervention of the Minister of Aviation over the planned industrial action by unions scheduled to commence on Sept 14.
The Chief Executive Officer of Arik, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, made the appeal in a letter to the minister entitled, “Re-Unions in Arik Air threaten to down tools.”
NAN’s visit to local terminals in Lagos indicated that stranded Arik Air passengers expressed disappointment over the airlines shut down without the management of the airline informing passengers.