by Stanley Azuakola
Let’s face it: Nobody expected Jimoh Ibrahim’s words communicating his sack of all Air Nigeria staff and closing down the airline as the final word on the matter. Certainly there was more to come.
As promised, workers of the grounded airline have dragged the chairman, Jimoh Ibrahim and the chief executive officer, Kinfe Kanssaye to the National Industrial Court in Lagos. They are challenging the illegal and wrongful termination of their employments, non-payment of salaries and non remittance of their 7.5 per cent pension scheme contributions.
The workers’ suit was filed by their solicitors; Muhmad Adesina ESQ, and Ogunsany & Ogunsany.
According to the lawyers, the grouses of the workers against Jimoh Ibrahim and Kinfe Kanssaye include the following:
1. The unilateral and compulsory retirement of workers on September 5, 2012 did not follow due process as contained in the employment handbook as the news was only communicated to them through the media. They argued that the workers did not withdraw their respective services to Air Nigeria Development Limited as they did not write any letter to the company.
2. Prior to the termination of their appointments, the airline owed workers arrears of salaries; from May to August, 2012 and that some were paid for the month of May only, while others were not.
3. Prior to the alleged wrongful termination of their appointments, workers had contributed 7.5 per cent of their salaries to the Pension Contributory Scheme, while the company contributed 7.5 per cent. However, even though the company had been deducting this amount from the salaries of the workers, the company was not remitting same to the pension scheme as agreed upon by employer and employees.
4. The workers also claimed that the money deducted from their salaries under the Pay As You Earn(PAYE) up till the moment of their wrongful dismissal, could not be accounted for, as there were no evidence of payments to the appropriates authority.