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Strike: Passengers stranded nationwide as Arik Air grounded

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Hordes of passengers are stranded across Nigeria as Arik Air got grounded by three aviation unions on Tuesday in a joint strike shutting down the operations of the airline.

Elombah.com, on Monday, reported that unions in the aviation sector had directed the commencement of a joint strike shutting down the operations of Arik Air.

The strike is to take effect from December 20, over the airline’s failure to pay seven months salary arrears and other anti-labour practices.

The unions gave the directive in a strike notice signed by Mr Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary,  National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), and Mr Frances Akinjole, General Secretary, Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN).

It was also signed by the General Secretary of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Mr Aba Ocheme.

The unions said the strike would continue indefinitely, until their demands are met by the management of Arik Air.

Their demands include : “That the management of Arik Air allows total unionisation of its employees, in compliance with extant labour laws and with respect to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

“The management of Arik Air recalls all sacked employees who have been victimised for their roles in the effort to bring about unionisation in Arik Air.

“Payment of salary arrears for seven months, with a commitment to pay salaries as at when due, henceforth.”

They also called for the immediate review of all employee remunerations which had remained the same since the inception of Arik Air, over ten years ago.

The unions further demanded for immediate commencement of negotiations of Conditions of Service to be concluded within four weeks and remittance of Pension, Tax, and statutory deductions to the appropriate authorities.

They also urged the management of Arik Air to comply with the Nigerian Expatriate Quota law.

As early as 6:00 a.m., the aggrieved workers stormed the airport chanting solidarity songs and carrying placards with various inscriptions.

Addressing the protesters, Mr Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE, said the unions decided to ground Arik Air for safety reasons.

Abioye said: “Arik Air has refused to pay workers’ salaries for seven months and we know that a disgruntled worker is an accident waiting to happen.

“The airline has been defaulting in taxes and other statutory deductions from workers remunerations.

“The management has refused to allow total unionisation of its employees, in compliance with extant labour laws and with respect to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

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