Owing to COVID-19 fallout which has crippled many businesses across the globe, Nigerian airline, Air Peace, has sacked about 70 pilots across its fleet.
The airline has last July slashed salaries of its staff to 40% which generated sharp controversy between the staff and management.
The salary reduction controversy got the management and staff to the negotiation table without success which the airline maintained, it had been hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued on Monday by Mr. Stanley Olise, spokesperson of the airline which he made available to journalists, he described the sacking of the pilots as “painful but rightful decision.”
The statement listed commitment of financial obligations of the airline to include, “staff, external. vendors, aviation agencies, maintenance organisations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors, which it said, cannot be met as a result of economic downturn.
“The pandemic has hit every airline worldwide, so badly that it has become very impossible for airlines to remain afloat without carrying out an internal restructuring of their costs.
“Anything short of what we have done may lead to the collapse of an airline as could be seen in some places worldwide during this period. Therefore, we decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff.
“The new salaries reflect a zero per cent-40 per cent cut of the former salary, depending on the salary grades of every staff. Even after the cuts, it was obvious that for us to be able to sustain our operations and survive the times, some jobs must inevitably have to go.
“Air Peace has never, for one day, ever owed salaries to its workers in its almost six years of existence, pilots inclusive. Rather, the management of Air Peace has always been known to be increasing salaries of its employees periodically, without being prompted by staff.
“In fact, in one fell swoop, Air Peace increased the salaries of pilots by over 100 per cent in one day. Our salaries have always been paid even before the end of the month in the last five years.
“The decision is a reflection of the negative impact of the pandemic on airlines and aviation worldwide.
Air Peace said it is in its trying times like any other bigger airlines across the world, noting that ot does not have any special immunity.
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