AIRLINES

Arik Air Sacks Pilots over ” Illegal strike action”

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“After our letter to the management of Arik Air in receivership, requesting to see the receiver-manager did not acknowledge, on Monday, December 20, 2021, we wrote to Arik Operations and Crew Control, notifying them that due to serious safety concerns, we will be unavailable to fly until we had the opportunity to share these concerns with the receiver-manager. The issues existence affected all staff, inclusive of drivers, cabin crew and even baggage handlers.

“All local pilots were called for an emergency meeting scheduled for 21:00 on December 20, 2021. All local pilots attended this impromptu meeting and again, requested a virtual meeting with the receiver manager as it was felt that it was best to share our concerns with the head of the company.

“During the meeting, we were informed that the receiver manager was not interested in meeting with us until further notice, due to his state of mind, which we felt disregarded the significance and seriousness of our request.”

The pilots also noted that they had issued a prior notice in order to avoid any flight disruption on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, insisting that their action was in accordance with the letter.

It, however, regretted that at 14:00 on the same Tuesday, eight local pilots were issued dismissal letters by the management, accusing them of “gross misconduct due to the abandonment of duty.”

But Omokide  speaking to THISDAY, described their action as illegal, unfair and sabotage to the company.

He said that according to the company’s procedures, the pilots ought to have met with the CEO and by not doing that they breached the chain of command and agreeing to meet with them would be to further breach the structure.

“I am the Receiver Manager, not the Accountable Manager. This company runs by processes and manuals. It is true they asked to speak with me through their boss and I responded to them through their boss. They did not want to speak with the CEO. This company runs on best practices. They should have walked through the channels,” he said.

The pilots had insisted that if they were unable to share their concerns with regards to morale, remuneration and the current safety issues in existence, with the appropriate company representative, then they would not be able to fly until the issues were addressed.

Omokide retaliated noting that, remuneration issues could have waited until January.

“So why should the issue of salary be raised in December? I said, let’s discuss in January. Be patient till January, but on Tuesday they went on strike. Their action was illegal, unfair and sabotage. I don’t know if somebody is sending them to do this. Their action was unprofessional,” he said.

“Until they have a change of course, I am not going to pull back. What they have done is putting people’s lives at risk. This is December the time to make money for the company and you are going on strike,” Omokide stressed.

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