Arik Air’s operations were shut down on Monday by the aviation industry inions, and this may have caused the airline as estimated loss of N50 million in earnings. According to reports, the airline operates on an average of 28 flights daily, which means it flies a minimum of 2000 passengers daily.
The benchmark minimum of N25,000 per economy flight was used to record the losses, based on daily income, and this amounted to a minimum of N50 million, due to the labour’s shutdown.
On Monday, September 14, two aviation unions, National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and the Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), grounded the operations at Arik Air, due to the conflict with the airline’s management over the non-payment of salaries and other conditions of service, which left thousands of passengers stranded, without flights.
This shutdown by the unions, have left passengers who patronize the airline stranded as they are unable to access any flights, seeing as there are no operations until further notice.
Ocheme Aba, The Secretary General of NUATE, prior to the shutdown, stated that it was necessary following the refusal of Airk Air, to agree to their demands. The demands of the unions included the payment of balance of the staff salaries for those who worked and those who were home during the cOVID-19 lockdown in the country.
“First, these decisions were taken unilaterally and based on labour practice, every decision that would affect payment of workers has to be negotiated. There has to be a collective bargaining agreement, that’s the labour and yet they didn’t even keep to that promise. For people who were even coming to work, they were paying them less than 50 per cent of their salaries and the people at home whom they say they were going to pay 20 per cent, they didn’t pay. They paid for only one month and thereafter nothing again till date,” Aba said.
Arik Air has said that the unions action are illegal, saying it does have the backing of the Nigerian Civil aviation Authority (NCAA), which is the head of all unions.