Nigeria: Aviation Union Threatens to Shut Down Arik Operations Over Sack of Workers

20 November 2019

The National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has threatened to shut down Arik Air's operations nationwide for sacking its staff members in Uyo station without due process.

The union gave Nigeria's major carrier one-week ultimatum to recall the workers, numbering about 14, or it would ground its domestic and regional operations.

Arik Air in a letter titled "Compulsory Leave of Absence," obtained by THISDAY and signed by Arik's Assistant Vice President, Human Resources, Ijeoma Ije-okereke, had directed that the workers should go for six months leave of absence with effect from November 15, 2019 without benefits.

"In view of the suspended operations in Uyo station, you are required to proceed on six months (182 days) leave of absence without pay with effect from November 15, 2019.

"Please note that during this period, you shall not be entitled to any benefits".

She urged the affected workers to hand over all company property in their possession to the Station Manager who will forward them to Human Resources.

"Please note that you are not expected to be in the office within this period of absence," the letter said.

Reacting to the sack, the President of NUATE, Ben Nnabue told THISDAY that the union had written to the airline to rescind its decision and recall the workers.

Nnabue described the sack as inhuman and very harsh and alleged that Arik Air has not been treating its workers well, noting that the airline has not agreed with the union on the condition of service of its workers since the past one and half years.

"We received this letter from Arik in which they sacked their workers in Uyo station in the most inhuman manner. We have written to them and given them ultimatum to recall the workers within one week or we shut down their operations.

"For one and half years, Arik Air has not agreed with the union on the condition of service of its staff. We hope that they will recall the workers, but if they don't we shut down all the operations, both local and regional services," Nnabue said.

Arik Air official, who spoke to THISDAY on the condition of anonymity, said the airline has not been operating to Uyo for the past one year, adding that it has been paying the workers.

"So, it was because the indigenous carrier shut down the Uyo Station that it decided to disengage the workers there," he added.

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