Aero Contractors’ workers protest, seek goverment’s intervention
Several aviation workers on Wednesday staged a protest march in Lagos, demanding Federal Government’s intervention in the plight of Aero Contractors.The workers, under the aegis of Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSN) and National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), alleged that the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) is behind the closure of the airline and on the verge of liquidating the airline.
The protesters that staged peaceful demonstration at the three terminals of the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, appealed to the government not to allow Aero Contractors go the way of defunct Nigerian Airways.It would be recalled that Aero, the oldest airline after Nigerian Airways, at the beginning of this month “temporarily” suspended scheduled flight operations, citing need to reposition for profitability.
About 2600 workers that were sent on indefinite leave have, however, continued to demonstrate at the airline’s headquarters in Lagos, demanding their rights as workers.Secretary of ATSSSAN, Frances Akinjole, said that the closure of Aero Contractors by AMCON is “illegal”, and the workers are ready to ensure a reversal.
Akinjole accused AMCON of running the airline aground after it took over majority shares in 2011 by approving bogus salaries and allowances for its representatives.
According to her, “Before AMCON took over, the airline had 11 operational aeroplane. They claim to have injected N12 billion in the company, but today, the airline has only three aircraft.
“This is calling on all well-meaning Nigerians to please come to the aid of Aero at this crucial time in her life. Aero should not be allowed to die from the strangle of AMCON,” Akinjole said.
The Minister of State for Aviation, Hadi Sirika, had recently met with the workers, with assurance that the Federal Government would intervene and ensure that the airline is revived as soon as possible.
Sirika told the workers that the federal government would make sure that the problems plaguing the airline was solved, noting that it is the responsibility of government to create jobs and therefore would not allow any business concern to die under its watch.
“The primary purpose of government, especially this All Progressives Congress (APC) government is to help to promote, nurse, sustain, develop and keep businesses so that they can continue to provide services and employ our people. So, it is not the government of APC that will kill jobs and close down shops. Our intent is to promote jobs and promote businesses in Nigeria so that businesses will be growing,” Sirika said.