Aviation

May 23, 2024

Turkish airlines refute claims of victimizing aviation union members

Turkish Airlines

By Lawani Mikairu

Turkish Airlines has refuted claims by  the National Union of Air Transport Employees , NUATE, in Lagos that its members are being victimizing by the airline.

Reacting to the claims in a statement in Lagos, the management of the airline said seven members of NUATE were implicated in ticket racketeering case.

The airline said : “Our attention has been drawn to various malicious and unfounded publications orchestrated by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (the “Union” or “NUATE”) regarding Turkish Airlines and its former employees. The publication claims that the Airline, in a bid to exterminate the Union, had dismissed 7 of its employees who are members of the Union on alleged trumped-up charges. This cannot be farther than the truth. In the interest of our customers and the goodwill and reputation that the Airline has garnered over the years, it is important to set the record straight.

“In late 2023, the Airline discovered an unfortunate pattern of ticket racketeering, particularly various ticketing reservation violations committed by 7 of its employees which caused the Airline significant economic loss and hardship to the tune of over $600,000 (Six Hundred Thousand United States Dollars).

“Upon discovering the violations, the Airline immediately engaged the Union in various discussions on how to address the said violations.

Specifically, the Union was invited and acted as a member of the disciplinary committee against the erring employees, where it was determined, after the presentation of irrefutable evidence detailing the employees’ wrongdoings, that the employees were liable for gross misconduct and ought to be dismissed.

“After the conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings, the Airline gave the employees the option to voluntarily resign which 3 out of the 7 employees did. However, the 4 remaining employees who indicated that they were interested in resigning later declined to do so. The Union, despite full compliance with disciplinary process, refused to sign off on disciplinary action to the erring members of staff.

“Despite the clear and undisputable evidence of wrongdoing, the Union has continuously threatened to paralyse the Airline’s operations in Nigeria by way of industrial action if the employees are not reinstated. Premised on the threat of industrial action issued by NUATE by notices dated 28 February 2024 and 25 March 2024, the Airline instituted proceedings in Suit No.: NICN/LA/24/2024 – Turkish Airlines Incorporated v The Registered Trustees of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), seeking to determine the legality of the Union’s (threatened) actions, among other things.

” After the institution of this suit at the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) and after service had been effected on the Union on 9 February 2024 and while motions fortion were pending before the Court, NUATE proceeded to execute their threats to picket.

“On 26 March 2024, union members of NUATE barricaded the Airline’s check-in stations at Murtala Muhammed Airport, Lagos State and prevented its passengers from boarding for over 2 hours. It was only through the intervention of the airport authorities that NUATE’s attempts to cause a complete breakdown of law and order at the airport was thwarted.

“Premised on the actions of the Union on 26 March 2024, the NICN on 30 April 2024 issued formal notices of injunction restraining NUATE and its affiliate unions from conducting any industrial action in such a way as to disrupt the business of the Airline. Under the cloak of the Nigeria Labour Congress picketing, NUATE has disrupted the business of the Airline and has forced the Airline to cancel its flights because of the picketing carried out yesterday, 21 May 2024. 

“The Airline would like to state that since 2006 when it launched its operations in Lagos, Nigeria, it has continued to put the interest of its passengers and employees first. The Airline has always encouraged its employees to participate in any union of their choosing and has sought to work harmoniously with all governmental and non-governmental bodies in Nigeria.

“However, the Association expects the Airline to ignore these illegal behaviors and actions, which are contrary to the Airline’s transparency and management principles and cause serious financial losses to the Airline.

“We would like to respectfully announce to the public that the Airline has no tolerance for this and all similar illegal and wrongful actions and will act accordingly and exercise all its legal rights regarding the process”, the airline added.