Following the disruption of flight plans as a result of a strike action by aviation unions on Monday, passengers of Arik Air have threatened to drag the airline to court over the disruption of their flight plans.
Recalled that members of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) on Monday blocked the operations of the airline and vowed to maintain their ground until their demands were met.
The unions alleged anti-labour practices and non-payment of staff salaries since April after 90 percent of the workforce were laid off. These include payment of outstanding salaries arrears, signing of Conditions of Service, and remittance of pension, tax, and statutory deductions to the appropriate agencies.
They also want payment of salary arrears of seven months, with a commitment of salary payment as at when due, as well as immediate review of all employee remunerations stagnant for over a decade.
But reacting to the impromptu disruption, many passengers condemned the airline for failing to inform them of the situation for schedule adjustment and flight change.
One of the affected travelers, Votapwa Taragi, said “I got to the MM1 at 5:20am. The union members didn’t allow Arik Air to operate. I rushed to MM2 to book a Dana 7:20am flight. The new time affected my schedule. Arik Air should communicate issues like this early so passengers can arrange an alternative. What happens to people with insufficient funds to book another flight? A legal action is an option.
On Twitter, Abimbola Apampa said: “I and many other passengers got a rude shock this morning on getting to the Arik Air check in counter! “Sorry Arik is not flying because the union is on strike”. There was no mail or text message to inform any passenger and having travelled all the way from Ajah to the airport at Ikeja, depriving me of sleep & adequate rest, only for Arik Air to breach our agreement to fly me!”
Similarly, Boluwarin Emmanuel tweeted: “So, Arik Airline sold tickets only for their staff union to disrupt operations on a Monday morning!
“Protest ongoing due to non-remittance of pension deducted from workers. Arik Air management is a joke. I have always reserved my comment about ArikAir. But, today is a No! No!! Shey you sabi any lawyer; Litigation.”
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Arik Air, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, has urged the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to wade in the planned industrial action.
He made the appeal in a letter to the minister entitled, “Re-Unions in Arik Air threaten to down tools.”