May 21, 2024

Dana Air staff picket company’s headquarters over unpaid salaries, pensions

NCAA suspends Dana Air’s AOC over inability to conduct safe flights

Dana Air is Grand daddy of Nigeria’s airlines. One of the planes in its collection is 28.1 years old, an age many planes ought to have been retired

By Dickson Omobola

No fewer than 20 former employees of Dana Air, on Tuesday, expressed grievance over the management’s failure to pay their salaries and contributory pensions.

The staff, who were laid off after the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, NCAA, suspended the airline’s operations over a runway excursion incident, called for the payment of their pensions as well as April and May salaries.

Speaking at the airline’s headquarters in Lagos, the former Aviation Security Supervisor of Dana Air, Mr Eze Chidiebere, lamented their disengagement, saying the situation was more worrisome because they were not paid.

Chidiebere said: “Dana Air started laying staff off through a letter. In the letter, they stated that our services were no longer required. Since the airline’s aircraft skidded off the runway and the regulator, NCAA, suspended their Air Operator Certificate, AOC, even though it is on record that we flew on April 23, the salary for that month (April) has not been paid. We have other issues too. Since the Contributory Pension Scheme was launched in 2014, Dana Air has been deducting it from our monies, yet it has refused to remit the monies to our accounts.

“We are here to press home our demands that our April salary be paid, and since they are asking staff to go, they are also required to pay staff one month in lieu before paying us off. We are here with empty stomachs and we don’t know what to do next. The reason they gave for the sack is that the airline is expecting a new investor who would take over. However, what we are saying is that we should be paid off even though plans are in place for a new investor.”

Also speaking, a former employee, Mrs Magdalene Onyukwu, said: “We are disgruntled staff asking to be paid. If they are asking me to go, it means they are ready to pay me my benefits. They have to pay us our benefits, our gratuity and our pension. They have to pay us all they have collected from us over the years.”

After its plane veered off the runway at Lagos airport on April 23, Minister of Aviation and Aerospace Development, Mr Festus Keyamo, suspended Dana Air’s operations over the consistent incidents experienced by the airline.

Amid an audit by the NCAA, Dana Air, on May 11, made the decision to temporarily disengage some staff members pending the conclusion of the audit.

A statement by the Head of Corporate Communications of Dana Air, Mr Kingsley Ezenwa, had partly read: “In light of the ongoing audit, Dana Air has made the decision to temporarily disengage some staff members pending the conclusion of the audit. This decision has been made to ensure efficient management of resources and to facilitate a thorough review of operational procedures.”