The National Union of Air transport Employees has urged the Asset Management Company of Nigeria to discuss the fate of the workers of Arik Air with the union before the take off of new entity, NG Eagle.
Ben Nnabue, National President of the union, made the plea at a congress organised in front of the airline’s headquarters in Lagos on Friday.
Nnabue said the union was ready to picket the airline for three months, if the need be, until AMCON saw reason to address the plight of Arik workers.
He said the union was at the airline office to chart a way forward for members of staff of the airline, especially with the alleged plans to move most of the workers to NG Eagle.
He said: “People don’t value their workers.
“I am always saying this before management in any organisation that there are two components to every organisation.
“One is the material assets and the other is the human resources assets, but we live in a country that people seem to be valuing their material assets over human resources assets.
“It is very painful because without labour the machines cannot work, without us there is nothing you can achieve.
“In fact, it is labour that builds the machines they are valuing more than us.
“We have been discussing with Arik over the years to let us understand what they want to do with our members and they keep on telling us there is nothing like that, there is nothing like that, there is nothing like that.
“Even when our members have seen their aircraft in the tarmacs where they are changing the paint, you still say there is nothing like that.
“I cannot understand why people can be so dishonest.
“Something is definitely wrong.
“We will fight this battle to finish.
“You see, in NUATE we believe in one thing, not in stories or love letters, we believe in action.
“We will declare strike in Arik, and if they don’t resolve the problems of the workers, a new airline will never come.
“We will do it for three months non-stop till the mandate of the workers come to be.
“They must work with us, they must tell us what they will do with our members.”
Also, its General Secretary, Ocheme Aba, explained that as an aviation trade union, NUATE considered the unveiling of the NG Eagle, a positive and welcome development.
Aba said this was because the new airline would normally create job opportunities, provide incentives for deeper business penetration and generally widen the Nigerian aviation horizon.
He, however, expressed misgivings concerning the NG Eagle due to AMCON’s evasive tendencies on one hand.
According to him, another one is Arik Air’s unrelenting penchant for courting crisis, as well as severally demonstrated lack of capacity/disdain for labour relations practice.
He asked of what becomes of Arik members of staff that had been home since the start of COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, earning 20 per cent of their take and those declared redundant.