Aero management may have turned to intimidation tactics to silence the unions within the organisation as it has handed chairmen National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) queries over the peaceful protest demanding accountability of the airline management a fortnight ago.
Few weeks ago, the two aviation unions, ATSSSAN and NUATE staged a peaceful protest to the headquarters of Aero Contractors over alleged financial misappropriation, prolonged and unhealthy rivalries between the management and labour unions that is affecting the economic health of the airline.
It was learnt that immediately after the peaceful protest, the management of Aero Contractors queried the two labour leaders in the organisation for bringing unions to stage a protest at the airlines headquarters.
But the labour leaders have threatened and declared showdown with the management of Aero Contractors over recent developments in the company.
The president of ATSSSAN Comrade Benjamin Okewu who spoke on this new development told Nigerian Flight Deck that it was unacceptable for the management of the airline to cover up their misdeeds by killing Aero Contractors warning that the unions will not allow the airline to die and that every money spent must be accounted for by the management.
Okewu said it was not in the interest of the organisation to sack their branch chairmen.
Few weeks ago, the unions raised an alarm on issues bordering the financial impropriety in the company calling for investigation into the activities of the airline.
Comrade Okewu who led all the workers to the protest told journalists that after AMCON pumped in millions of naira into Aero Contractors, the airline continued to nose dive and wondered what was going on in the company.
Okewu said after investigation by the unions, it was discovered instead of acquiring more planes the airline was going down and that the money was not used for what it was meant for adding that records showed that the money was transferred into other ventures from Aero account.
He said the unions have called on EFCC to come in and investigate the activities of the airline. “We discovered from our investigation that aircraft engine which ought to have been leased for $40,000 elsewhere were being leased by Aero Contractors for $70,000. A lot of fraudulent activities took place”
Okewu said the unions can no longer condole the issue any more as Aero Contractors has the potential of becoming the best airline in the country with dedicated workforce but the fraudulent activities of the Aero management has grounded the airline to this extent adding that they will not to see the airline turned into carcass before acting.
He said there was no structure in the management of the airline hence the fraudulent activities going on in the country
The crisis has almost crippled the operations of Aero Contractors as labour unions in the aviation sector have vowed not to leave any stone unturned to ensure that all labour related matters were resolved without victimisation of any worker to ensure the survival of the airline.
Stakeholders are of the opinion that as the crisis in the airline deepen, it would affect performance and there by lead to a drop in patronage of the airline which has refused to come out and address all the accusations laid bare by the unions in the aviation sector.