Barely one month after the management of Caverton Helicopters increased staff salaries by 20 per cent, the company has concluded plans to sack no fewer than 50 per cent of its total workforce nationwide.
This is as the company, earlier in the week, disengaged all the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (ICAO) certified security personnel on its payroll.
One of the affected staff, who was laid off during the week, told SaharaReporters that the management claimed in the disengagement letters to the sacked workers that it was preparing to outsource the department, a step he said negated safety in the system.
No fewer than 50 of the security staff were laid off during the week by the company.
More so, it was gathered that the management would, next week, continue with the exercise, with the sack of about 250 personnel, cutting across the departments in the helicopter company.
The number of workers prepared for disengagement represents 50 per cent of the total workforce in the company, it was gathered.
It was learnt that the planned sack would cut across all the stations of the company: Port Harcourt, Lagos and Warri.
Besides, another source close to the company confided in our correspondent on Friday, that the management took the step after reaching a 20 per cent increase in salary with the aviation unions in the sector in July, while the implementation commenced this August.
He, however, expressed surprise that the management could disengage workers within a month of reaching the agreement, stressing that the company may be picketed any moment from now by the union.
The source said: “As I speak with you now, all members of the security department have already been given the boot by the management. The management said it took the decision because it wanted to outsource the security department to a private firm. Unfortunately, for the industry, this will have security implications, because those that would be brought in have no training in aviation security.
“Ironically, the company is yet to comply with the redundancy principle of disengaging workers. Also, just this last week, two people were sacked and the management is planning to sack additional staff in the coming week. In all, about 250 workers will be laid off in the coming week."
Our correspondent could not, however, get an official response from Caverton Helicopters on the issue, but a management staff, who craved anonymity, confirmed the development.
The staff said the management took the decisive step as a result of low load factor, assuring that most of the affected staff would be recalled when the economy picks up.
The source said: “It is true that the security staff were laid off, but we took the step because we want to outsource that department. We need to cut our cost. However, on the support staff, we won’t take such step without a recourse to their unions.”