Three aviation unions have concluded plans to picket Arik Air over the airline’s breach of agreements with the unions.
The unions – the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) – claim that they reached contractual agreements with Arik Air in December 2016, but the new management of the airline has failed to adhere to the agreements. They have also accused the Receiver Manager of Arik Air, Oluseye Opasanya, of being anti-labor.
The agreements reached with the former management staff involved reviewing the unions’ conditions of service, remittance unions’ deductions to their respective unions, and the failure of the airline to reinstate sacked union leaders.
NUATE General Secretary Olayinka Abioye explained to our correspondent that “certain commitments were extracted from the meeting and we were supposed to have feedback early this year, but when we got there, Arik Air management was not in sight, and we later learnt that the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) management had taken over the airline.
“As expected from responsible union bodies, we wrote a letter to the new management seeking for a meeting with them, which was approved. We got to that meeting and the Receiver Manager, Mr. Oluseye Opasanya, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), acted in an uncivilized manner. He walked out on the leaders of the three unions and asked his bodyguards to send us out,” he said.
Mr. Abioye added that efforts to ensure cooperation with the new management proved abortive, as the management sent out a circular advising workers not to join unions.
“Contrary to expectations, a circular was issued by the Vice President of Human Resources of the airline to the effect that Arik workers should shun unionism because the airline has zero tolerance for trade unions. That is a criminal offense. Thereafter, the same management wrote a petition against the unions to the Inspector-General of Police, claiming that the unions threatened him, which was a lie,” Mr. Abioye said.
He explained that this anti-union action contravenes Section 40 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (1999) and international conventions on labor rights.
Leaders of the aviation unions consequently announced that they would picket Arik Air on Thursday morning.