The management of Arik Air have finally approved the condition of service for their workers.
The airline had in a statement on December 4 relieved 300 employees of their appointments, citing the decision on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on its operations.
The statement titled ‘Arik Air management declares 300 staff redundant’, explained that a redundancy package would be provided for the affected members with the help of the aviation unions.
The Federal Government waded into the dispute and ensured that the 300 employees of Arik Air who would have been recently sacked by the carrier were not relieved of their jobs.
The Director-General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Musa Nuhu, said this in Abuja on December 10 at the briefing of the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19.
However, the National Union of Air Transport Employees, said that the union had made progress in negation with the management of the organisation on a number of issues.
The General Secretary, NUATE, Aba Ocheme, revealed that the union had secured and signed better working conditions with the management. However, he said, the redundancy package had not been settled.
He said, “We have concluded with the conditions of service. There are lots of things to discuss. There is a package for those who are exiting.
“It remains the issue of returning people to work which Arik has decided to convert to redundancy. We have not commenced the discussion and it remains outstanding. We have not determined the basis of redundancy.”
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Similarly, the Chairman of the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria, Arik Air, Innocent Atasie, noted that the meeting with the management had gone well.
He said, “The meeting went fine. The conditions of service and the terminal benefits have been signed. Since the conditions of service have been sealed, the next discussion will be on the redundancy.”
Giving more details regarding the redundancy, Atasie explained that the process involves lots of discussions.
He said, “The company has declared redundancy. The union will reply them and ask them why they want to tow that path and the parameters.”
He added, “The redundancy has to be negotiated. You cannot just be sacked. Redundancy must be negotiated because there are unions in Arik Air. The unions will come for discussions with the airline. We want to know their incapability, issues, their challenges and whether it is worthwhile and justifiable.”
Atasie said that the airline had hinted that it may not be able to return some of the furloughed workers. He added that 70 per cent of the workers were at home.
He stated, “Instead of keeping them at home and paying them 20 per cent of salaries, the management decided to declare redundancy. The unions have to follow them up in the discussion. They need to prove why they are declaring this.”