FOLLOWING its promise to re-absorb workers when the lot of the airline improves after a series of unfortunate events, management of Aero Contractors have recalled 69 workers and plans to recall another batch of over 30 affected in the redundancy exercise carried out in 2017 March.
The airline’s successful completion of its first ever C-Check on a Boeing 737-500 last week may have been the spur to recall the 69 affected staff, however, 392 workers are still awaiting their return back to the airline.
General Secretary of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN),
Mr. Frances Akinjola who confirmed the development in an interview said nine of the recalled staff were members of ATSSSAN while the 19 engineers and pilots were belonged to the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) and the other 41 were members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE).
He explained that the current management in Aero Contractors is laying a solid foundation that would return the airline to its former glories, stressing that if the management continued with its layed down plans, very soon, the airline would return bigger and better.
He commended the management of Aero Contractors for fulfilling its promise of recalling some of the workers who were declared redundant in 2017.
He explained that the unions were carried along throughout the period, noting that the resolve of the unions not to agitate for the closure of the airline had paid off with the recall of some of the workers.
He also confirmed that the management had assured the unions that other affected workers would be recalled in batches.
Akinjola also hinted that the current management had paid all the outstanding salaries of 2017, excluding September to December of 2016, but said that the management of the airline has assured the unions that all outstanding salaries, benefits and redundancy packages would be paid in due time.
He said: “We met with the Chief Executive Officer and management of Aero Contractors towards the end of 2017 and we go the intention that they were prepared to start implementing the agreement we reached at the end of the redundancy exercise that we concluded with them in 2016.
“I believe Aero management will continue to call us for discussion and we believe that Aero is coming back stronger as envisaged. Our intention was never to see Aero go down and that was the reason we decided to work together with them despite the fact that some of our members felt we were not doing enough.
“The only option left for us then was to shut down Aero, which we refused to do. If we had done that, what we are seeing today would not have come to light. I think we have been vindicated with what we are seeing today.
“Aero is a very good brand in Nigeria aviation sector and as we all witnessed on the roll out of the successful C-check, Aero is coming back to where it used to be and we are even going to surpass that. Nigeria is even going to benefit from the MRO facility of the airline as pressure on foreign exchange among operators would reduce.”
It would be recalled that the former management had in March 2017 declared no fewer than 60 per cent of the workers redundant at the peak of its crisis in 2017 after all its aircraft were grounded.
The breakdown of the recalled staff according to a source close to the airline, indicated 19 of them were pilots and engineers. Others are 41 administrative staff and additional nine cabin crew members. The source told our correspondent that while some of them were recalled in the latter part of 2017, others were recalled earlier in the month.