…as union issue no retreat, no surrender verdict
AS the clampdown on Arik Air operations by unions continue, the airline management has suspend all domestic operations for today stating that the status quo will remain in force until such a time the unfortunate situation is resolved.This is just as the unions have said that the clampdown of the airline’s activities will not end if there is no headway or sign of crossing off their debt, thus issuing a non-stop clampdown on Arik Air.
The airline in a statement released by its spokesman Mr Adebanji Ola apologized for the inconvenience to passengers explaining that unions from the Federal Airports of Nigeria (FAAN) blocked the operations of Arik Air at the General Aviation Terminal of the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos.
The statement read,” Workers of the airline were prevented from gaining access to their duty posts thereby disrupting the day’s operations.”
Ola’s statement also stated that the picket was as a result of long-standing unsubstantiated claims by FAAN of which both parties involved are reconciling, he however said the matter was before a Federal High Court in Lagos as FAAN’s instance.
His statement continued, ”The action by the workers’ union is connected with the long-standing and unsubstantiated claim by the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) of spurious indebtedness of the airline to the agency which is now before a Federal High Court in Lagos at the instance of FAAN. “
“For several months, the management of Arik Air and FAAN have been meeting to reconcile payment accounts between the two institutions. The reconciliation process is still ongoing until the latest actions by the union.”
“This is not the first time that FAAN workers’ union will be taking the laws into their hands by disrupting operations of Arik Air.”
“The current situation is deeply out of control of Arik Air and the management of the airline has been compelled to suspend all domestic operations for today. This will remain in force until such a time the unfortunate situation is resolved.”
“Arik Air sincerely apologize for the inconveniences the FAAN workers’ union action may have caused its esteemed passengers. We live to serve the needs of the people of the great nation Nigeria. We look forward to working collaboratively with FAAN and other aviation agencies to resolve the impasse and return to our core purpose of providing essential world-class services to the people of Nigeria.”
The airline’s statement has apologized for the inconvenience to passengers that have bought the airline ticket however, Ola also said that the airline is addressing its teeming passengers that are stranded in the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) in a bid to avoid any hammer under the Passengers’ bill of rights.
Meanwhile, the unions who are still barricading Arik as at the time of filing this report have vowed that they will not be leaving the airline’s work post anytime soon, according President of the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association (ATSSSAN), Comrade Benjamin Okewu.
Okewu said, “We will be continuing this picketing tomorrow until Arik reconciles and starts paying off their debt. There are other debtors but they have all been reconciling and paying but Arik is doing neither instead heading to court. Overland owes N7b, others too are owing FAAN but have reached a middle point.”