Passengers affected by the shut down of Arik Air activities have accused the airline of disrupting their plans and non-communication.
On Monday, aviation unions blocked the operations of the airline and vowed to maintain their ground until their demands were met.
They included the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) and Air Transport Senior Staff Services Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN).
The unions alleged anti-labour practices and non-payment of staff salaries since April after 90 percent of the workforce were laid off.
These include payment of outstanding salaries arrears, signing of Conditions of Service, remittance of pension, tax, and statutory deductions to the appropriate agencies.
They also want payment of salary arrears of seven months, with a commitment of salary payment as at when due, as well as immediate review of all employee remunerations stagnant for over a decade.
Arik Air management had urged the Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, to wade in the planned industrial action.
Chief Executive Officer, Capt. Roy Ilegbodu, made the appeal in a letter to the minister entitled, “Re-Unions in Arik Air threaten to down tools.”
Arik Air stranded passengers expressed disappointment over the development.
Many condemned the airline for failing to inform them of the situation for schedule adjustment and flight change.
A traveler, Votapwa Taragi, affected said that her 6:45am flight was affected.
The legal practitioner said: “I got to the MM1 at 5:20am. The union members didn’t allow Arik Air to operate. I rushed to MM2 to book a Dana 7:20am flight. The new time affected my schedule. Arik Air should communicate issues like this early so passengers can arrange an alternative. What happens to people with insufficient funds to book another flight? A legal action is an option.
“In Abuja, one of my bags didn’t come out. Dana staff said some others were dropped; I believe it was deliberate. It must be punishment for insistence on paying for my excess luggage to the airline instead of a personal bank account the counter staff gave us. Today was a terrible experience. Aviation authorities and airlines should do better”, she added.
On Twitter, Abimbola Apampa said: “I and many other passengers got a rude shock this morning on getting to the Arik Air check in counter! “Sorry Arik is not flying because the union is on strike”. There was no mail or text message to inform any passenger and having travelled all the way from Ajah to the airport at ikeja, depriving me of sleep & adequate rest, only for Arik Air to breach our agreement to fly me!”
Similarly, Boluwarin Emmanuel tweeted: “So, Arik Airline sold tickets only for their staff union to disrupt operations on a Monday morning!
“Protest ongoing due to non remittance of pension deducted from workers. Arik Air management is a joke. I have always reserved my comment about ArikAir. But, today is a No! No!! Shey you sabi any lawyer; Litigation.”
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