Following the sack of about 900 staff, representing about 60 per cent of its workforce, the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) has threatened to disrupt Aero Contractors’ operations beginning on Monday, if the airline refuses to recall the sacked workers.
Condemning the sack, General Secretary, NUATE, Olayinka Abioye, described it as an exercise in bad faith to the aviation industry and the country in general. According to him, beginning from Monday, the world would know what is really happening in Aero Contractors.
He said, “We are going to shut down the operations of the airline. There is no place in the world where people will work for 20 to 25 years and you will disengage them and ask them to go home empty-handed. This has never happened before, so it will not happen in Aero Contractors.”
Abioye accused Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) of not acting in the best interest of Aero contractors and its workers since the takeover in 2013.
He assured that NUATE, alongside other aviation unions, would ensure that the affected workers are paid their entitlements and benefits before the airline dismisses them.
Media Consultant to the 58 years old airline, Simon Tumba, who confirmed the development in a statement issued on Thursday in Lagos, said the workers would be paid their pension and gratuity.
He explained that the airline, which is under the management of the (AMCON), had to trimmed the workforce by 60 per cent, as it is grappling with huge and unrealistic personnel cost as well as other operational challenges, which has been worsened by lack of enough aircraft to keep all the workers meaningfully engaged. He added that letters of redundancy were issued to the affected employees during the week.
“The issuance of notification of redundancy is a business decision that will ensure Aero’s survival. The current situation where over a thousand people are basically not engaged due to lack of serviceable aircraft is not sustainable for the airline. The huge monthly salary associated with a bloated workforce will eventually kill the airline, which is not the intention of the current government,” Tumba said.
Though AMCON is yet to give the exact figure of workers affected by the downsizing but various reports indicate that it is between 400 and 900.