From Suleiman Idris, Lagos
Disengaged staff of foremost domestic operator, Aero Contractors are gearing up for another rounds of disruption of the airline’s operations following the management’s failure to fulfil it own part of the bargain that led to the termination of their jobs, Peoples Daily has gathered.
Eight months ago the management of Aero Contractors sacked about 60 per cent workforce over what it termed redundancy having been initially taken over by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), the airline is yet to pay the affected workers their severance packages as promised.
It was also gathered that the fleet of the airline has further depleted to just two aircraft; Bombardier Dash 800 aircraft.
Sources also affirmed that the Nigerian government which took over the running of the airline through the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) has refuse to inject funds into reviving the country’s once famous carrier.
While less than 5 percent of those retrenched has been reabsorbed on technical ground when AC got approval from the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) to carry out C-Check on series of Boeing 737 aircraft, others are still left in the limbo.
One of the affected workers who didn’t want his name in print decried that contrary to the promise of the management to pay the affected staff their severance packages few months after the redundancy claim, most of them were yet to be paid their entitlements.
Another source said that a few of the affected workers were paid just two months salaries of the seven months owed them by the airline before the redundancy claim in March.
Over 600 workers were deemed surplus to requirement by the management of Aero in March. The airline before the exercise had more than 1000 employees.
Aero contractors had been under the receivership of AMCON since 2011, but its fortune has not improved ever since, rather, its fleet of aircraft had continued to deplete.
Just August last year, the airline suspended operations for almost four months, only to resume skeletal operations in December 2016, but since then, the airline, which hitherto prided itself as a leading carrier in the country, had not made any impact in the local scene while it suspended all its regional operations.
The source said: “Most of us that were declared redundant by the Aero management are yet to paid our severance packages months after. AMCON management is not willing to pump money into the airline and without the injection of funds by AMCON, the current management, can’t get resources to carry out most of the projects they already mapped out.
“Abroad, before you shut any organisation, you must have funds to pay the workers their benefits. AMCON and the management took the right decision to allow the airline to continue in operation, but its unfortunate that they don’t want to pay us the severance packages as promised earlier.
“All the airline needs is just two additional airplanes, maybe two of its B737 that are going through checks abroad. Currently, Aero has only two Dash 800 aircraft in its fleet, a far cry from 18 at its pick.
Aero had sacked 60 per cent of its workforce in March due to inadequate equipment (aircraft).
A statement by the media consultant to the airline then, Mr. Somon Tumba had said that it had over 1,000 workers who most had been redundant in recent time, stressing that business decision made it to take the decisive decision.