Nigeria’s largest airlines, Air Peace has sacked about 70 pilots.
The privately-run national carrier also implemented pay cuts ranging from one per cent to 40 per cent in a bid confirmed the termination of some of its pilots contracts across its fleet.
According to a statement issued by the Spokesperson, Stanley Olisa, the management of the airline linked the disengagement of the pilots contract to the devastating impact of COVID-19 pandemic.
Although the company did not mention the number of pilots that were disengaged, sources that over 70 persons may have involved.
The company said, “The Management of Air Peace wishes to state that it has taken a very painful but rightful decision, in the circumstances the airline has found itself as a result of the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on its operations and financial health to terminate the employment of some of its pilots.
“This decision was taken for the greater good of the company and its almost 3000 workforce, the affected pilots inclusive.
“The airline cannot afford to toe the path of being unable to continue to fulfil its financial obligations to its staff, external vendors, aviation agencies, maintenance organisations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors hence the decision to restructure its entire operations with a view to surviving the times.”
The statement also disclosed that salaries being paid to staff would be reviewed based on salary grades.
It said, “We decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff. The new salaries reflect a 0 per cent to 40 per cent cut of the former salary depending on the salary grades of every staff.
“Even after the cuts, it was obvious that for us to be able to sustain our operations and survive the times, some jobs must inevitably have to go.”
The airline added that the disengaged staff would have a place in the airline when things return to normal if they so wish.
It should be recalled that the pilots on July 22 had reportedly protested a major pay cut after negotiations with the management over their remuneration broke down.
The management of Air Peace, however, denied the reports by issuing a statement that its pilots were not on strike as insinuated in the social media.
In another development, aircraft pilots and engineers on Monday vowed to resist the termination of employment of the pilots by the management of Air Peace.
Speaking through their umbrella body, the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers, the aviation workers insisted that due process was not followed by the carrier in carrying out the exercise.
The President, NAAPE, Abednego Galadima, told one of our correspondents that pilots would resist the retrenchment of their colleagues at Air Peace.