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Drama as workers occupy Aero Contractors’ office

Aviation unions’ members have occupied the head office of Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest airline, which announced indefinite suspension of scheduled operations.   The airline’s office…

Aviation unions’ members have occupied the head office of Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest airline, which announced indefinite suspension of scheduled operations.
 
The airline’s office at the Murtala Mohammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, was occupied by members of Air Traffic Services Senior Staff Association (ATSSSAN) and the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) to protest indefinite leave given to over 1,400 workers of the airline.
 
The unions said they were neither informed nor carried along in the decision of the management to suspend operations.
 
They said the workers are being owed two months’ salaries and have not been paid severance allowance.
 
After months of epileptic services, Aero Contractors suspended scheduled services on Wednesday and ordered their staff to proceed on indefinite leave.
 
Members of the unions were seen in front of the office singing solidarity songs while workers of Aero Contractors who did night duty were locked inside. 
 
ATSSAN President, Comrade Benjamin Okewu, said what Aero management did by locking out the workers was shocking.
 
He said negotiation was still ongoing when Aero took its unilateral decision.
 
He stated that some workers who were on night duty were locked in, pointing to the chairman of ATSSAN in Aero Contractors and other workers who were inside.
 
Acting Secretary of NUATE, Comrade Olayinka Abioye, told Daily Trust that Aero had not paid its workers salary.
 
“As I speak with you, the Aero Management is owing workers two months of unpaid salaries. It is as bad as that,” he said.
 
“The workers have resolved that if care is not taken, they would go and lie down on the tarmac. If Aero plane wants to kill them, they are ready because there is no way that somebody would have worked for a company for 22 years and you are asking him to go home without a dime”.
 
When contacted, a spokesman of the airline, Mr. Simon Tumba, confirmed that the management is actually owing the workers two months’ salary, adding “I have not been briefed on when the money would be paid”.

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