Arik Air operations were on Thursday grounded by the National Union of Air Transport Employees over poor working conditions.
The workers blocked the entrance of the airline’s headquarters, carrying placards with different inscriptions.
Some of the inscriptions read, “End Arik brutality,” and “Sign our condition of service and recall all staff.”
They alleged that several members of staff had been furloughed, adding that pensions were being owed.
State Secretary, NUATE, Ijeh Anthony, explained that the issue had lingered for long, vowing to continue the strike till all demands were met.
He said, “The contentious issue is the signing of the conditions of service which we have been negotiating for the past three years.
“But the only aspect remaining in the CoS is the issue of the severance package. We have sought interventions from the Ministry of Aviation, the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority.
“However in most discussions, Arik Air Management will always renege.”
Anthony stressed that the management decision to operate with lesser staff was also part of the reasons for the strike.
He said, “At the beginning of the lockdown, Arik Air management decided to send 80 per cent of their workforce on compulsory leave and in the process of engagement, they agreed to pay 20 per cent of their salaries for all those workers involved.”
He added, “All other airlines have called their workers back post COVID-19 but Arik Air workers have decided to run on 20 per cent while 80 per cent are still at home.
“The pressure now is that workers at home are now agitating. The flight frequencies have increased, we have higher fares and we are opening new routes, so why are you keeping us at home?
“At our last meeting, we demanded that the people at home resume because their absence is contributing to more pressure on us.
“During the pandemic, they were distributing palliatives to the host community when workers were not happy.”
Anthony said the union was not happy having to tow the path of flight disruptions but that was the only choice they had.