Twenty Nigerian cabin crewmembers laid off by Virgin Atlantic Airways have slammed a N5 billion suit on the airline. Joined as co-respondent in the ensuing legal hostility is Aviation Logistics and Management Ltd.
In a motion filed before National Industrial Court Lagos South west Nigeria by their lawyer, Chief Felix Fagbohungbe (SAN), the claimants are seeking an order of interlocutory injunction restraining the respondents from laying them off, or giving notice of termination of employment, served on them pending the hearing and determination of the suit.
They are also seeking the order of the court suspending the employment termination served on them pending a hearing of the substantive suit.
They also demanding the sum of N5 billion as damages for the act of discrimination against them.
The twenty cabin crew members included: Genevieve Mordi, Umo Akinselure, Lukman Yusuf, Ekaete Victor-Iyamu, Victoria Enyi, George Ezemba, James Ajayi, Rosemary Ogbor, Babajide Akinyele and Remilekun Lashebikan.
Others include Yewande Salau, David Dagat, Babafemi Oshifeko, Babatunde Olamuye, Juliet Ezumba, Rachel Ideho, Ademola Olowolade, Imelda Blankson, Halimat Odeyemi and Tolumilade Sogbesan.
They were all laid off on November 30, 2015 following an internal memo issued by the Executive Vice President, Jill Brady.
In a memo it was stated that the provision of cultural expertise, which was the primary purpose of employing the claimants, was no longer required by the airline on its Lagos-London route.
However, in an affidavit deposed to by one of the plaintiffs, Umo Akinselure, averred that the claimants were never informed by any of the respondents that the sole reason for their employment was to provide cultural expertise in respect of the airline's flight operations on the Lagos-London route.
The respondent further stated that no survey was ever conducted by the airline which revealed that the cultural expertise provided by the claimants, in respect of its Lagos-London route, is no longer required.
Akinsulure averred that the airline's intention to terminate the employment of the claimants was based solely on their race, color, and social extraction as the airline has consistently and persistently taken actions which are discriminatory, oppressive, and detrimental to the interest of the claimants as Nigerians and Nigeria as a country.