At Last Arik Air Resume Operations

PIX: Arik Air

The Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) has intervened in the Arik Air crisis and strike commenced by the airlines labour unions over the unpaid salaries and illegal deductions.

As a result of the intervention, Arik Air represenatives have promised that the company will pay all salary arrears to its workers this Friday, December 23.

The unions that include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) in their turn agreed to stop the strike.

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting summoned by the NCAA reads in part: "Parties resolved that Arik Air is to resume operations forthwith upon the signing of this communiqué. Parties agreed that no individual shall be victimized as a consequence of the strike action."

October salaries will be paid on or before Friday, 23 December 2016 while the November salaries will be paid on or before 31 December 2016, according to the communiqué.

The unions will submit the acknowledged copies of the letters forwarding membership forms of their prospective members to the NCAA that will forward them to the airline management.

Besides, a committee to review the circumstances of employees dismissal, made up of one member from each union and Arik Air, will be inaugurated on Tuesday, January 10 next year.

The NUATE and ATSSSAN had directed workers of Arik Air to commence an indefinite strike action yesterday (Tuesday) over non-payment of seven months’ salaries.

The strike, according to a statement jointly signed by Abba Ocheme, Olayinka Abioye and Francis Akinjole, on behalf of the three unions, would continue until the management of Arik Air pays the arrears of seven months’ salaries and give a commitment to pay salaries as and when due.

The unions also called for total unionisation of Arik’s employees in compliance with extant labour laws and with respect to the constitution of the country.

They also asked the management of Arik Air to recall all sacked employees, who had been allegedly victimised for their roles in the effort to bring about unionisation in the company.

Some other issues that the unions want settled before calling off the strike included the immediate review of all employee remuneration, which they stated had remained the same since the inception of Arik Air over 10 years ago, and immediate commencement of negotiations on the conditions of service to be concluded within four weeks.

Others were remittance of pension, tax and statutory deductions to the appropriate authorities and compliance by the management of the carrier with the expatriate quota law.

“Towards the full realisation of the strike action, all aviation workers, in complete solidarity with their enslaved comrades in Arik Air, shall withdraw all services being rendered by third parties,” the unions said in the statement.

They stated that the aviation workers would be supported by employees from all other sectors throughout the country to underscore the seriousness of the matter at hand.

The union added, “In the above respect, all ground handling services, security clearance for Arik Air ticket holders, marshalling, aviation fuel supply, air traffic control, safety inspection, etc. will be completely withdrawn.”