Over 600 former Aero Contractors employees who were laid off eight months ago have yet to receive their severance packages.
The affected workers include sales and marketing personnel, pilots, cabin crew, and administrative employees. Our correspondent gathered that Aero Contractors management dismissed the workers for “redundancy” in March.
One of the affected workers told SaharaReporters that while some engineers were recently recalled by the management of the airline following the approval of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) given to the airline to carry out C-checks on Boeing 737 aircraft, a majority of them have yet to be re-absorbed into the workforce.
According to the source, the few who were re-absorbed were given a “conditional” return and were made to sign a document before they could be re-employed by the airline’s management.
The source added that the form they filled stipulated that their return to the job would only be for between three and six months, after which they could either be retained or laid off again.
Our correspondent learned that in addition to awaiting the payment of their severance packages, the laid off workers had been unpaid for seven months prior to their sacking.
One of the affected workers, who did not want his name published, decried that contrary to the promise of the management to pay the affected staff their severance packages a few months after the redundancy claim, most of them have yet to be paid their entitlements.
“Most of us that were declared redundant by the Aero management are yet to paid our severance packages months after,” the former Aero employee said.
SaharaReporters learned that the struggling airline has recently depleted its fleet to just two aircraft.
It was revealed that the new manager of the airline, Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), was not interested in investing in the airline, but preferred to recoup its alleged debts to it by the past management, which has contributed to its depleted fleet.
“AMCON management is not willing to pump money into the airline and without the injection of funds by AMCON, the current management can’t get resources to carry out most of the projects they already mapped out. Abroad, before you shut any organization, you must have funds to pay the workers their benefits.
“AMCON and the management took the right decision to allow the airline to continue in operation, but it's unfortunate that they don’t want to pay us the severance packages as promised earlier,” the former Aero worker told our correspondent.
Aero Contractors has been under the receivership of AMCON since 2011, but its fortune has not improved since the takeover.
In August 2016, the airline suspended operations for almost four months, only to resume skeletal operations in December 2016. Since then, the airline, which hitherto prided itself as a leading carrier in the country, has not made any significant progress.
In March 2017, the airline sacked 60 percent of its workforce due to “redundancy,” according to Aero. However, the depletion of the airline’s fleet suggests that the decision to lay off over 600 workers was influenced by Aero’s poor financial situation.