By Simdi Gloria:-
National Union of Air Transport Employees on Thursday grounded Arik Air operations over issues of poor working conditions.
The entrance of the airline’s headquarters was blocked by workers who carried placards with different inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read, “End Arik brutality,” and “Sign our condition of service and recall all staff.”
Ijeh Anthony, State Secretary, NUATE said the issues have lingered so long and vowed that strike will continue unless their demands were met.
He said, “The contentious issue is the signing of the conditions of service which we have been negotiating for the past three years.
“But the only aspect remaining in the CoS is the issue of the severance package. We have sought interventions from the Ministry of Aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
“However in most discussions, Arik Air Management will always renege.”
Anthony also said that the management’s decision to operate with lesser staff is also a reason for the strike.
He said, “At the beginning of the lockdown, Arik Air management decided to send 80 per cent of their workforce on compulsory leave and in the process of engagement, they agreed to pay 20 per cent of their salaries for all those workers involved.”
He added, “All other airlines have called their workers back post-COVID-19 but Arik Air workers have decided to run on 20 per cent while 80 per cent are still at home.
“The pressure now is that workers at home are now agitating. The flight frequencies have increased, we have higher fares and we are opening new routes, so why are you keeping us at home?
“At our last meeting, we demanded that the people at home resume because their absence is contributing to more pressure on us.
“During the pandemic, they were distributing palliatives to the host community when workers were not happy.”
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