….we are not members of ANAP, NUP
…our concern now is our severance package
By Lawani Mikairu
Arik Air workers who are members of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association, ATSSSAN, National Association of Nigeria Aircraft Pilots and Engineers , NAAPE, and the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, Tuesday warned the leadership of the Association of Nigerian Aviation Professionals, ANAP, and the National Union of Pensioners, NUP, to stay away from the affairs of Arik Air and the proposed NG Eagle airline.
Speaking on behalf of the workers in a rally , Arik Air branch Chairman/Secretary of NUATE, Ogulesi Afeez and Okoloj David and Branch Chairman/Secretary, NAAPE, Kelechi Alex Ifejika and Numoliya Bethen said none of the airline staff belong to ANAP and NUP and so the two unions have no stakes in their affairs.
The workers therefore wondered why ANAP and NUP will threaten to picket Arik Air and also urge Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, not to grant Air Operator Certificate, AOC, to the proposed NG Eagle airline because Arik Air is owning Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria, FAAN.
According to the workers, what is important to Arik staff presently is ” the painful circumstances which caused our colleagues to proceed on leave without pay and how to achieve transition from employees of Arik Air to NG Eagle Airlines without loss of our service years.”
The workers therefore warned ANAP and NUP not to interfere in Arik’s Air and NG Eagle Airlines matter, adding that should they fail to heed the warning and proceed in any foolhardiness to attempt to cause any disorder in the airlines, “we assure them that they will have the workers of both Arik Air and NG Eagle Airlines to contend with . We are absolutely able to defend ourselves as the law grants us to do.”
On the call by ANAP and NUP on the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA)to deny NG Eagle Air Operators Certificate (AOC) based on the debt Arik Air owes the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria(FAAN) the three unions argued that there is no correlation between the legacy debt and the issuance of AOC by the regulatory body .
They therefore described the call as not only provocative but also irresponsible for ANAP and NUP to make such a call bearing in mind that the two unions in question do not have members in both Arik Air and NG Eagle.
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According to the three unions, “To start with, ANAP and NUP are unknown quantities in Arik and NG Eagle. Having no membership in the two airlines , they have no stake whatsoever , and as such have neither legal nor moral right over the affairs of the two airlines .One therefore wonders in whose interest ANAP and NUP are acting.”
“More worrisome is the resort to the status of debt collectors by ANAP and NUP. We consider it demeaning for registered trade unions to debase unionism to the extent of actually acting as par thugs for their pay masters in the name of trade unionism. By threading on this acrimonious path, these two unions have robbed themselves of infamy and all people of conscience must condemn them without reservation.” the three unions in Arik said.
The workers affirmed that the unions recognised in Arik Air are ATSSSAN, NAAPE and NUATE and that they also have the authority to get involved in the affairs of the airlines.
Speaking on the issue, the General Secretary of NUATE, Abba Ocheme who was at the peaceful rally, said that aviation unions will not tolerate a situation where some unions are trying to pitch unions against each other.
On the call by ANAP and NUP to deny NG Eagle AOC because Arik is indebted to FAAN, the NUATE scribe , said NCAA will not reduce its integrity on who to issue AOC to and how to issue it..
“We can count on NCAA to do due diligence on the issuance of AOC,” he said.
According to him, “We will support Arik Air. Leave the issue of debt to the one owing and the one being owed. Presently, AMCON is not owing anybody . The debt we are talking about is the legacy debt and our problem is bigger than debt.”