by Isi Esene
The disengaged staff of the troubled airline, Air Nigeria, have planned a protest march today to register their grievances against their sack by the management of the airline led by Jimoh Ibrahim.
On Wednesday, the operations of the airline was temporarily suspended by the airline management and workers summarily sacked purportedly on the grounds of disloyalty.
According to a statement released by the sacked workers, the protest march will start at 8am at the Murtala Mohammed Airport Wing 2 in Lagos after which they plan to march to the office of the Director General of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to formally register their opposition to the Air Nigeria management’s decision.
The workers maintained that Ibrahim cannot unilaterally sack all the staff without following due process as specified in their employment contracts.
They accused the airline management of owing them four months salary arrears, and allegedly withholding their accrued pension and taxes which ought to have been remitted to the relevant government agencies.
Reports say the workers further alleged that Air Nigeria was owing the Air Nigeria Cooperative Society N56m in members’ personal savings.
In the statement announcing the 12 month self-imposed suspension of flight operations, the management of Air Nigeria assured its customers that arrangements have been put in place to refund monies of intending passengers due to fly the airline after September 10.
This assurance was however countered by the statement released by the aggrieved workers who claim, “No plans [have been] put in place for all our passengers who have bought tickets to London who will be flying into and out of London from 10th September onward.
“He wickedly wants to get them stranded without alternative plans or refunds,” they claim.
The management of Air Nigeria announced the suspension of operations on its local, regional, and international routes and the sack of all its workers except a select fifty who according to Jimoh Ibrahim are expected to re-start the airline’s operation after the one-year suspension.
In June, John Nnorom, a former Executive Director for Finance at Air Nigeria accused Ibrahim of a variety of business malpractices including tax evasion, forgery, and diversion of government funds.