by Dolapo Adelana
Aviation workers have threatened to shut down the operations of Arik Air on Thursday over the airline’s management’s failure to reinstate its sacked members among other issues.
They include the National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers.
The Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria had on February 9 taken over the airline.
Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE, who spoke on behalf of the unions on Wednesday in Lagos, accused the new management of intolerance to unionism.
He alleged that the airline restricts its workers from joining unions.
“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,’’ he said.
“Certain commitments were arrived at from the meeting and we were supposed to have a feedback early this year.
“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.
“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 circular said this is because the airline had zero tolerance for trade unions. That it was a criminal offence,’’ he said.
He said the management later wrote the Inspector-General of Police, claiming that the unions had threatened him.