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Protesting Aviation Union Shuts Down Arik Air Operations, Leaves Passengers Stranded 

There’s pandemonium across the country’s airports as protesting aviation unions on Tuesday, December 20, shut down the operations of Arik Air, leaving many of its passengers stranded.

The striking aviation unions – National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), the Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) – are reportedly protesting the airline’s failure to pay seven months’ salary arrears and other alleged anti-labour practices.

Both the local and international wings of the airline’s operations at the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos were shot down along with their corporate headquarters within the airport premises as the unions vow the industrial action would continue indefinitely until their demands are met, PT writes.

This deals a further blow to the nation’s leading airline whose operations was shut down in September over failure to meet insurance payments.

According to Olayinka Abioye, General Secretary, NUATE, the industrial action was also embarked upon for safety reasons.

“Arik Air has refused to pay workers’ salaries for seven months and we know that a disgruntled worker is an accident waiting to happen,” he said.

“The airline has been defaulting in taxes and other statutory deductions from workers remunerations.

“The management has refused to allow total unionisation of its employees, in compliance with extant labour laws and with respect to the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Frustrated passengers at the General Aviation Terminal resorted to changing their travel plans as there was no staff to attend to them at the airline’s counter, with many threatening to seek a refund once back from their trips.

Meanwhile, the Corporate Communications Manager of Arik Air, Ola Adebanji, said the airline would soon issue a statement explaining their position on the situation.

It’s been a year to forget for air travelers in the country who have had to deal with canceled/rescheduled flights due to the many problems bedeviling the aviation sector.

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