An industrial action by the cabin crew of Arik Air has grounded many flights and left passengers stranded across Nigeria.
The strike began without prior notice today Friday, December 22, 2017.
Daily Trust reports that hundreds of Arik Air passengers as at 9:50 am today, Friday, 22nd December 2017, where stranded at various airports across the country following an unannounced industrial action by the cabin crew.
The worst hit is Abuja and Lagos passengers where Arik has its major customers.
Our correspondent gathered that the cabin crew commenced the strike action this morning without prior notice over what they termed “non-increment of their salaries and allowances.”
Arik Air hasn’t operated any flight today and it’s highly unlikely they would fly before 12 noon today.
Several passengers were seen milling around terminal B of the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja where Arik Air operates from.
Members of staff of Arik Air were seen explaining to passengers and appealing to them to remain calm as the airline management negotiates with the striking workers.
One of the staff who spoke under condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press on the matter told our correspondent that the airline has announced two hours delay on all its flights today adding that, the airline believes that negotiation with the aggrieved crew members could be concluded in a record two hours. But if the negotiations linger, then more delays will happen he said.
Specifically, he explained that the crews are demanding for allowances that hitherto applied when Arik Air operated long-haul routes like New York, London, and Johannesburg.
According to him, when those flights were happening, a crew member could accumulate between 100 and 120 flying hours which came with special bonuses and they also enjoyed special allowances. For instance, the New York flight attracted $100 allowance per night while the London Flight attracted $60 pounds per night, times by the number of nights spent abroad.
He explained further that, the crews are still demanding for same working conditions as before which may not be possible as they also do not work as before.
He said the current Arik Air management introduced an attractive working condition for staff you can’t find in the industry.
For instance, he said, the staff received their December salary on 20th, a feat that has never happened before.
He also said Arik health insurance cover is one of the best as each staff can register as high as 10 dependants.