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Looming strike: Arik Air seeks Aviation Minister’s intervention

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The Chief Executive Officer of Arizona, Captain Roy Ilegbodu has appealed to the Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika to intervene in the planned strike by Aviation Unions scheduled for Monday.

In a letter titled: “Re-Unions in Arik Air threaten to down tools September 14th”, Lagos, the Air career explained that the organization has been hit by the the COVID-19 pandemic, hence, they needed some level of stability for operation.

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) had put Arik Air on notice for a coordinated strike over alleged non-payment of staff salaries since April after placing 90 per cent of the workforce on compulsory leave.

Arik Air called for understanding of workers to to enable the airline back on flee.

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According to the management, they would do all they could to protect the airline workers in a conducive environment as well as the protection of their customers who have been the of their livelihood.

“We shall also protect the interest of the flying public for a safe, friendly and on time travelling experience,” he said.

The airline noted that workers haven’t exhausted all the necessary channels of negotiation before its decision to embark on strike, adding that the planned strike by the unions were unlikely to yield the best outcomes for staff, the company and its faithful passengers.

The Management management maintained that the strike was a representation of 20 persons out of 1600 staff, noting that it didn’t pass through the test of fairness.

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It explained: “Prior to our going into Receivership, the employment letters basically detailed the approved emoluments of staff.

“Since the commencement of the receivership, this had been expanded by the introduction of policies to create best practice work environments to deliver top-notch services”, Air said.

Ilogbunam disclosed that management had been in discussion with various staff groups and unions to have those policies codified into Staff Conditions of Service and had a share of mind on most issues, adding that the only area of difference was the request by the unions for a terminal benefit scheme over and above the requirements of the Pension Act.

“They request for an independent retirement benefits scheme that will be wholly funded by the airline for retiring, resigning or terminated staff.

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“This request will receive a lump-sum payment upon exit that will in some cases, double the joint contribution of management and staff under the Pension Act of 2004 as amended.

“While it is the right of staff to share in the prosperity of a company, the request for an additional retirement scheme from a loss-making company, in receivership and whose operations are supported by creditors over and above legal requirements is simply onerous.

“Given the cost-driven challenges in the aviation sector that have seen the majority of airlines fold up in the past years, the request by the unions will set an unsustainable standard for other airlines that are struggling to survive in these difficult times.

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