Home News NG Eagle Won’t Fly If Workers Plight Is Not Addressed – NUATE Threatens AMCON

NG Eagle Won’t Fly If Workers Plight Is Not Addressed – NUATE Threatens AMCON

by timenews
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As the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) progresses in its plan to launch the NG Eagle (Airline) the National Union of Air transport Employees (NUATE) has threatened that the airline would not see the light of the day, should AMCON ignore addressing the fate of its workers.

According to NUATE, AMCON has already commenced the deployment of assets and human resources belonging to Arik Air to the NG Eagle and queried the need for an airline by the government body which currently has both Arik Air and Aero Contractors in its receivership.
The Aviation said it would go all the way out to ensure AMCON sees to the issue of staff welfare and would not mind picketing Arik Air for three months to pin down AMCON for discussion in this regard.

At a Congress organised by the Union in front of Arik Air Complex over the weekend, the National President of the Union, Comrade Ben Nnabue, said NUATE was ready to fight the course of its members in the airline’s workforce to a fruitful end or there would be no NG Eagle.

He said, “People don’t value their workers. I’m always saying this before management in any organisation there are two components to every organisation.

“One are 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’s 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, ‘let’s understand what you want to do with our members and you 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 (Arik Air aircraft to NG Eagle), 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.

“That is how we’d go, go and tell them to be ready. We went to ASL and did picketing for 24 days nonstop, Arik, we will do it for three months non-stop till the mandate of the workers comes to be, they must work with us, they must tell us what they will do with our members.”

General Secretary of NUATE, Ocheme Aba, while addressing the Congress pointed out that the Union was not against a new airline looking at the accrued benefits of job creation, provision of incentives for deeper business penetration and expansion of the Nigerian aviation horizon generally but was concerned about what becomes of the workers of Arik Air that had been at home since COVID lockdown last year receiving only 20 per cent of their salary.

“To these extents, all stakeholders, we inclusive, must extend warm welcome to the NG Eagle when it finally unveils,” he said, but noted that there are ominous signs that what should ordinarily be a lofty project will likely run into a heavy storm being created by a thoroughly fouled and convoluted industrial atmosphere at Arik Air.

He said: “Presently AMCON is in receivership of two airlines – Arik Air and Aero Contractors, being a 60 per cent shareholder in the latter.

“One should then ask why AMCON would be floating another Airline. We smell a rat.

“We decipher that AMCON’s unstated objective is to open a window of business opportunity as a way to recoup its heavy financial losses through the heavy debts in Arik and Aero. But, surely NUATE can’t be the only ones wondering what sort of business ingenuity there could be in running three airlines simultaneously.

“We have it on good authority that AMCON’s real intention is to sidestep the debt overhang, particularly in Arik air, while continuing to make money from the airline business without any real capital injection. This it intends to achieve by moving all valuable assets of Arik Air, including human asset, into the new NG Eagle. The questions are, what becomes of the carcass of Arik Air and its personnel after such evil wind?

“Presently, AMCON has already moved some Personnel of Arik Air to NG Eagle while being loudly silent on the service records of such personnel in Arik Air. What happens to the previous years of service or how assured is the security of such service in their new assignments? Or, shall such service be in vain?

“AMCON and the management of Arik have arrogated to themselves the powers to probate and reprobate on all issues pertaining to status of employees in this ingenious business melodrama, with complete disregard to subsisting collective bargaining agreements and relevant labour laws.

“Is NUATE expected to cheer them on to the neglect of its responsibilities and obligations to its members in the airline?

“If this conundrum by AMCON will lead to depopulation of the employed and increase in poverty, as is clearly established, shouldn’t one wonder why the Government and its relevant agencies appear to either be acquiescent or in actual aid of the furtherance of the obnoxious objective?

“Are we permitted to ask of our leaders the rationale behind the uninhibited aiding and abetting of this social-economic criminality?
“While committing the societal aspects of this brazen effrontery to the court of public opinion, and urging urgent intervention by appropriate government agencies – Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Aviation, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, etc – we have raised the labour aspects before the Management of Arik Air as trade disputes.

“Should the Management raise itself to the needed open mindedness and heartedness then we are willing and desirous of resolving them amicably as expected of progressive social partners. Then we shall welcome NG Eagle with our Solidarity Song and pop champagne.

“But, in the event that the reverse of the above is the case, then we shall sing our Solidarity Song as a call to the struggle to fight for the rights of Arik Air’s long suffering employees. The ball is in their court.”


Photo caption:

NUATE protest that AMCON must address workers plight for NG Eagle to fly.

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