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Arik Air has not reneged on union’s agreement timetable—Ola

Contrary to speculations by the leadership of the National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria and National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers that Arik Air had voided agreement reached last month on the timelines for settling grey areas that sparked off disagreements with its workers, the image maker of the group, Mr. Banji Ola, Sunday told Business Hilights that “Arik Air had not in any way gone contrary to any of the provisions of the deal”.

In a telephone interview, he expressed worry on why the unions will come up with allegations that Arik Air had dumped the agreement when time for any of the terms of the settlement had not come and gone without any action from the company.

A national daily had Saturday reported that the unions have threatened to shut down Arik Air’s operations for failing to implement the agreement reached with them in December concerning some members of staff of the carrier who were sacked.

It would be recalled that the union had last month grounded the operations of the airline on the issue before the intervention of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.

The report quoted the Secretary General of  NUATE, Olayinka Abioye, as saying that the airline had failed to implement the agreement reached last year.

Abioye said “There is going to be appropriate action against Arik for reneging on the agreement it reached with us through the NCAA. Every legal action that we deem possible against the airline will be taken soon,” stressing that the unions had made their threat known in a petition to the NCAA dated January 17, 2017 and signed by their general secretaries.

Copies of the petition were sent to the Managing Director of Arik Air, Mr. Chris Ndulue; and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige.

The union claimed that the issue of members of staff who were laid off was to be discussed on January 10, 2017, but the airline also failed to honour the law regarding unionisation of staff despite signing an undertaking.

Part of the content of the said petition said “It may interest you to note again that today, 17/01/2017, the management still failed to be available for the event that was postponed at their instance without any reason whatsoever for their absence. These matters are hereby brought to your attention as the mediator on the dispute for your information and necessary intervention to avoid any untoward consequences.

“As we shall not accept responsibility for any breakdown in industrial relations at Arik Air as a consequence of the reported reckless actions on the part of the management, especially considering that we did warn at the meeting that the Arik Air we knew would not comply with the agreement.”