For the second week running, troubled Nigeria airline Arik Air has failed to pay salaries arrears to workers as agreed with the industry unions and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) before it re-opened operations. 

Speaking to our correspondent today at the Murtala Muhammed Airport (MMA), Lagos, the source said the management has set a meeting with the frustrated workers for later this week, probably to discuss the salaries arrears issue.

The staff further said that contrary to the information that was dished out to the public, the airline was owing the workers more than the two months wages it claimed, saying that for instance, he was being owed about seven months’ salaries, including for December.

“We all expected them to pay us at least in December so that we could use our money for the new year celebration, but they failed again,” he said.  “As it is, no one knows when the salaries arrears would be paid to workers because they have refused to communicate to us. We are just working without pay. Everyone is tired and we are depending on the unions and NCAA to intervene once again.”

Under the agreement, Arik Air was supposed to pay the first batch of salaries arrears on December 23, and the November salary on December 31, deadlines it has now failed to meet.   

NCAA had intervened in the picketing of the airline by the unions over the non-payment of salaries and illegal deductions from its members in its employment. 

A communiqué issued at the end of the meeting called by the NCAA stated that the unions agreed to shelve the strike following the intervention of the regulatory authority.

It was also agreed that the unions would submit the acknowledged copies of the letters forwarding membership forms of their prospective members to the NCAA, while the regulatory body would forward them to the management of the airline to do what was required.

Arik Air and the unions: the National Union of Air Transport Employees, Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria; and the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, signed the communiqué in the presence of NCAA.

Under its terms, the October salary was supposed to be paid on or before Friday, 23 December, and the November on or before 31 December, two days ago.

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