Aero Contractors Sack Workers: Union Kicks Against 60% Downsizing
Troubled airline, Aero Contractors yesterday said it has downsized 60% of its total workforce.
The airline disclosed that the sack was due to the poor financial state of the airline.
According to the airline’s management, the affected staff will be paid their pension and gratuity in full.
Last year, the management of the airline was taken over by the Asset Management Company of Nigeria, AMCON.
The reason for the takeover was as a result of the very high debt profile of the airline to the company.
AMCON had early in the year appointed a new Managing Director in the person of, Captain Ado Sanusi.
This was after the former Managing Director, Captain Akin Akinkuotu was appointed the Managing Director of Nigeria Airspace Management Agency (NAMA).
According to AMCON, the decision to downsize staff will immediately reduce the staggering operational cost crippling the airline.
This, they believe will enable the management bring in more aircraft through savings from overhead costs.
A statement from the airline yesterday said:
“Aero Contractors of Nigeria Limited during the week issued letters of redundancy, which affected about 60 per cent of its total workforce.
“The airline had been grappling with huge and unrealistic personnel cost as well as other operational challenges worsened by lack of enough aircraft to keep all the workers meaningfully engaged.
“The issuance of notification of redundancy is a business decision that will ensure Aero’s survival.
“The current situation where over a thousand people are basically not engaged due to lack of serviceable aircraft is not sustainable for the airline.
“The huge monthly salary associated with a bloated workforce will eventually kill the airline, which is not the intention of the current government.
“Aero Contractors currently has aircraft-to-employee ratio of 1:500, which analysts believe is perhaps the worse in the history of global airline industry.
“Government’s intervention in Aero was to save it from total collapse therefore, all steps such as this (issuance of redundancy letters) to ensure its survival must be put into consideration to save the airline.
Aero Contractors Sack Workers, Aviation Unions Kick
In a related development, aviation unions yesterday reacted angrily to the development as Aero Contractors sack workers.
The unions say they will not accept the reasons given by the airline for the downsizing.
The President of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN), Mr Ahmadu Ilitrus said he was not aware of the purported redundancy notice to workers.
He advised workers not to collect any letter from the management of Aero Contractors.
He added that a meeting to discuss the unions’ next line of action has been fixed for Friday.
However, the statement added that those in Maintenance Repair and Overhaul (MRO) and other essential staff in critical departments will not be affected by the notification.
The management has also assured that the affected workers will be able to access their full gratuity.
Also, a part of their pension will be made available to them just to immediately cushion the effect of the development.
They also stand a chance of being recalled as soon as Aero Contractors increases the number of aircraft in its fleet in the near future.