Arik Air on Monday apologised to its customers over the disruption caused by the picketing of its operations by workers’ unions in Lagos on Monday.
Manager, Communications of Arik Air, Adebanji Ola, tendered the apology in a statement issued on Monday.
Operations of Arik Air were grounded on Monday by the aviation unions over alleged non-payment of staff salaries since April.
The unions, which include the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), accused the airline of neglecting the welfare of its workers after it allegedly placed many of them on compulsory leave, amid other anti-labour practices.
The Chairman of ATSSSAN, Arik Air branch, Innocent Atasie, said the workers resolved to shut down Arik operations nationwide since all efforts made to resolve the problem has failed.
He said the unions are unhappy that staff salaries have not been paid since April after placing 90 percent of the workforce on compulsory leave.
The unions said the strike would continue indefinitely until their demands, which include payment of outstanding salaries arrears, signing of conditions of service, remittance of pension, tax, and statutory deductions to the appropriate authorities and the resolution of other anti-labour issues, were met by the airline.
But Arik said in its statement that the picketing was done without the approval of the leadership of the unions.
“We wish to place on record that the picketing was illegal and has no backing of the aviation unions whose leadership have embraced dialogue by attending mediatory meetings called by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA).
“The management strongly condemns this action and once again assures all stakeholders of a safe and conducive working environment. We shall also protect the interest of the flying public for a safe, friendly and on time travelling experience,” the airline said.
“We are already working with the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Aviation and NCAA to resolve all pending issues with the unions and a section of the staff,” it further stated.