MANAGEMENT of Arik Air has described the action of the picketing unions as illegal stating that it would do anything and take every legal measure at its disposal to stop any illegal interference with its operations.This is even as passengers of the airline are once again subjected to harrowing experience following the ongoing picketing of the airline by unions in the aviation industry as it has not operated a single flight today costing the airline revenue and its passengers a continuous distrust for the services.
Unions consisting of United Labour Congress (ULC), National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) early today picketed the operations of Arik Air, grounding the airline.
Apart from complaining passengers who know nothing of their fate with regards travelling today, there was also stiff rejection from some staff of the airline who were vehemently against the unions’ action bent on scuttling it.
Staffers carrying placards like: “Árik Staff say No To Unions For Now!”, “ Go and help Aero!” as well as other placards were seen trying to bar the picketing unionists but met stiff resistance from the unions but this corroborated the stands of management that they met with staff and agreed there was no need for the picketing especially at this trying time of the airline.
Already, the impact of the picketing is far-reaching as a passenger who identified himself as Mike called and was enquiring as to why Arik Air was not flying and why no one was saying anything about it.
Mike who is a Kaduna bound passengers was upset at the contrived silence as his meeting was for 11am today and it was sad the airline has not said anything to them.
The unions despite heavy police presence has as early has 4am have already barricaded the headquarters of the airline.
As at this morning, Nigerianflightdeck learnt that under the instruction of the ULC, oil marketers have been directed not to supply Jet A1 (Aviation fuel) to the airline to pres home their demands.
The unions are picketing operations of the troubled Arik Air over the failure of the airline’s management to re-instate sacked union leaders and several other issues in the airline.
However, an Arik source who spoke to Nigerianflightdeck stated that the picket was wrong as Arik Air and its staff do not belong to any union.
The source told our portal that ,“The company is under receivership. Staff salaries are being paid and so there is no issue with staff of the airline.”
The statement by Arik Air management read:”It has come to the attention of the Arik Management, (under Receivership), that the Lagos State branch of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and National Association of Aircraft Pilot and Engineers (NAAPE) has directed their members to picket Arik airline.”
“We hasten to say that the motive of this picketing is unclear to Management and their action is therefore illegal. It is a well-known fact that Arik is under Receivership following various challenges experienced over the last few years, which include delays and cancellations of flights, delays in payment of salaries and huge debts to trade creditors and suppliers, bad corporate governance and a host of others. “
“In exercise of its statutory powers under the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) act a Receiver was appointed over the affairs of Arik Air on February 6, 2017. With the assistance of AMCON, salaries are being paid including backlogs, on time performance has improved from 15% to average of 80% and fuel suppliers that hitherto quit doing business with Arik are happily doing business with the airline. “
“For the record, the Management had engaged with its staff and is convinced that there is no reason to picket our airline, which is facing challenging times. “
“The focus of the Arik Air management is to stabilize the operations of the airline and enhance its ability to play a positive role in Nigeria’s aviation industry. Therefore the Management of the airline advises the unions to steer clear from undermining the operations of Arik Air. Management would take every legal measure at its disposal to stop any illegal interference with its operations. “