IN a reaction to unions’ shutdown of its operations from the early hours of Tuesday December 20, 2016, Arik Air has expressed dismay and disappointment that the unions have ambushed and disrupted the operations using disruptive and strong-arm tactics against the airline.In a statement made available by the airline’s spokesman, Mr. Adebanji Ola the unions were protesting the non-unionization of Arik Air staff who are not members of any of these protesting unions stating that the decision not to join the aviation unions is that of the generality of Arik Air and the management of the airline was in no way involved.
He however explained that the unions’ action was a direct affront to the laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria by interfering in the operations of the airline calling on industry authorities to prevail on the unions to allow for operations to commence immediately .
The statement made available to Nigerianflightdeck.com read,” Arik Air expresses its dismay and disappointment that a group of aviation unions have ambushed and disrupted the operations of the airline from early hours of Tuesday, December 20, 2016 by occupying its head office premises and preventing staff from gaining access to their workplace.”
“ The representatives of the protesting unions also prevented the staff of the airline from gaining access to the General Aviation Terminal (GAT) and the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, disabling the checking-in of passengers for both domestic and international flights. Access to the airport terminals is fundamental to the airline’s operations for movement of its personnel to ready and dispatch our aircraft for various flights.”
“The aviation unions under the aegis of National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Traffic Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSAN) are protesting the non-unionization of Arik Air staff who are not members of any of these protesting unions.”
“The union leadership had earlier written a letter to the management of Arik Air on their grievances and a meeting had been scheduled between the two parties for Wednesday, December 21, 2016. The unions however did not wait for the scheduled meeting or the outcome of the meeting, before embarking on such disruptive and strong-arm tactics against the airline.”
“ The unions have demonstrated total disregard for the laws of Federal Republic of Nigeria by interfering in the operations of the airline and preventing airline staff from carrying on with their duties of handling the passengers booked for today’s flights.”
“The decision not to join the aviation unions is that of the generality of Arik Air and the management of the airline is not involved in any manner and neither can it influence such individual decisions in any form since Unionism is a free will and not a matter of compulsion.”
“Arik Air is appealing to all the Security Agencies, the Minister of Aviation, the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) and all the other stakeholders in the industry to prevail on these aviation unions to allow for operations to commence immediately since this unjustifiable disruption by the unions has already inconvenienced the travel plans of thousands of passengers today.”
“Arik Air sincerely apologize to its esteemed passengers for any inconvenience experienced due to this unwarranted disruption and unlawful action by the unions. “
As at the time of filing this report, the indefinite strike is still on and the airline is still besieged by protesting unions where a union source says the siege continues until something buckles as the airline has gone far with its treatment of staff.