Air Peace, Bristow Lay Off 175 Pilots, Engineers Over Salary

Air Peace, Bristow Lay Off 175 Pilots, Engineers Over Salary

Less than 24 hours after Air Peace disengaged about 75 pilots, another aviation company, Bristow Helicopters has also disengaged over 100 of its pilots and Engineers.

On Monday, Air Peace Airline, sacked about 75 pilots over disagreements in salary and allowances, after the airline has been involved in a protracted disagreement over pay cut and reviewed remuneration between the pilots and the management.

AKELICIOUS gathered that the action of both airlines has to do with the current industrial action orchestrated by pilots in Air Peace, and on the other hand, pilots and engineers in Bristow Helicopters.

In an official statement issued yesterday, Bristow stated that it has engaged the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) to negotiate a fair and equitable redundancy compensation for the affected individuals.

The airline however, based its decision on the severe impact of the COVID-19 stating that its business has been affected adversely and would use the period to now restructure all aspects of its business model.

The statement read,” The spread of the Covid-19 virus has severely impacted all sectors in the aviation industry including our market, which primarily serves the Nigerian oil and gas sector.  In addition, the ongoing downturn in the global oil and gas market continues to influence and determine the demand for our services.

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“The combined effects of these ‘arisings’ has resulted in very significant reductions to our business particularly a reduction in the number of contracted aircraft in Nigeria. As a result, the company must now restructure all aspects of its business model (both Rotary & Fixed Wing), including an extensive review of its operations and we continue to drive efficiencies, but with zero compromise to safety and our core values.

“One of these measures includes the right sizing of the business to ensure that the company has the optimal level of personnel to continue the safe delivery of its services to its clients, whilst allowing the appropriate capacity for future growth.  Accordingly, and with much regret, the company has taken the very difficult decision to release over 100 pilots and engineers (both National and Expatriates) over the next couple of weeks.”

Stating that the industrial action is illegal Bristow continued:” In compliance with the relevant labor and local content laws and also best practices; the company has engaged the leadership of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE) to negotiate a fair and equitable redundancy compensation for the affected individuals.

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“In compliance with the terms of employment, the affected individuals will be paid three months’ salary (excluding applicable deductions) following their exit from the company.  The redundancy packages will be paid to them as soon as an agreement has been reached with NAAPE.

”This decision has not been made lightly, but having considered the state of the business and the very serious constraints caused by the spread of the Covid-19 disease and the downturn in the oil and gas market, the company must now take this painful, but decisive step to ensure the continuity of its business and delivery of essential services to its clients”, the statement emphasized.

On its part, Air Peace stated that their decision to sack the pilots was taken for the greater good of the company and its almost 3000 workforce, the affected pilots inclusive.

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“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 organizations, insurance companies, banks and other creditors hence the decision to restructure its entire  operations with a view to surviving the times.

“The pandemic has hit every airline worldwide so badly that it has become very impossible for airlines to remain afloat without carrying out internal restructuring of their costs. Anything short of what we have done may lead to the collapse of an airline as could be seen in some places worldwide during this period. Therefore, we decided to review the salaries being paid to all staff. The new salaries reflect a 0%-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.”

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