JUST IN: Dana Air staff protest mass sacking non-payment of salaries

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Over 500 staff members of Dana Air have blocked the entrance of the aviation company in the Oshodi area of Lagos State in protest against their sacking as well as the refusal of the airlines to pay their April salary.

 

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Dana aircraft was involved in a runway skidding incident last month, a development that prompted the Nigeria Civil Aviation Authority to withdraw its operation licence.

 

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NCAA said it had initiated an in-house compliance assessment of the occurrence taking into account Dana’s track records in related occurrences.

 

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The regulator added that it would ensure a safety audit that will entail a re-inspection of the organisation, procedures, personnel, and aircraft as specified by Part 1.3.3.3 of the Nigeria Civil Aviation Regulations, while the economic audit will critically examine the financial health of the airline to guarantee its capability to sustain safe flight operations.

Barely two weeks after the suspension of Dana Air operations, the aviation company laid off its staff based on claims that their disengagement was in respect of the ongoing audit, by the aviation regulators.

 

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, the staff, during a protest in front of the company, threatened to explore every mechanism to fight what they called “an injustice.”

 

The staff members who were armed with placards with inscriptions such as; ‘Give us our money’, ‘A airline owing it staff can’t be safe’, and ‘Systematic thieving’, among others, stated that aside from being unjustly sacked, the airline has refused to pay workers contributory pension as well as their April salary among other entitlements.

 

Speaking with journalists at the protest ground, the Training Manager of the airline, Magdalene Onyeukwu, noted that the staff members will not relent until the management pays all that is owed.

 

Onyeukwe, who claimed to have worked with Dana for 15 years, stated that she got her sack letter through a WhatsApp message.

 

She added that all their access, including official lines, have been deactivated.

She said, “I have been with Dana since 2008; I was part of those who participated in the demo flight that gave Dana its licence; even when there were challenges when salaries were not paid, we remained committed until this issue of runway incursions, which is normal.

 

“But before we knew it, they started sending us WhatsApp messages saying our services are no longer needed. Who does that? What about our gratuity, pension and even our April salary? This is not possible after 15 years of service ?”

 

Also speaking at the protest ground, an Aviation security supervisor, Eze Chidibere, also complained about the refusal of the company to pay its sacked staff, stressing that this development has started affecting the well-being of staff families, appealing to the management of Dana to urgently pay what is due “even if they won’t be reabsorbed.”

 

Chidibere further accused Dana of fraudulently deducting staffers’ contributing pensions but refusing to pay the same into their pension accounts.

 

He said, “We are here to demand our rights, after serving Dana Airlines for several years, they suddenly sacked us all saying that our services are no longer required. But it is on record that Dana airline flew till April before it had an incursion and as I am talking to you, April’s salary has not been paid and my children are at home because I have not been able to pay their fees.

READ ALSO: Dana Air sacks workers amid operational audit

 

“So many people are in our outstation and couldn’t make it here today because of logistics. If not, this place would have been physically filled by our over 500 staff members because our people are seriously angry.

 

“Also, if an organisation is sacking its staff, it should pay a one-month salary in lieu because it is also expected that staff should give a one-month notice to the organisation before leaving, but they refused to honour the same rule.

 

“Dana Airlines has been deducting our money but hasn’t remitted the same to our pension account. This, among others, is our reason for begging Dana to immediately pay us to avert a legal battle.”

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