• Dana Air sacks over 1,000 workers after NCAA suspension

    Dana air sacks over 1000 workers after ncaa suspension - nigeria newspapers online
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    • Airline’ve not remitted pension in 12 years  -Source

    • Situation temporary -Management

    By Chinelo Obogo

    About 1000 employees, including 583 permanent members of staff and expatriates, were laid off by Dana Air on Thursday, May 9, 2024, following the suspension of its operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Sunday Sun reports.

    Though the airline claims this disengagement is temporary, emails seen by Sunday Sun suggested that it a permanent termination. A paraphrased email sent to all the disengaged members of staff from the airline’s management read: “We regret to inform you that your service is no longer required effective May 9, 2024. This difficult decision was necessitated by the unfortunate suspension of our AOC/business operations by the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and enormous challenges the suspension continues to occasion. We take this oppourtunity to thank you for your contribution to the organisation during your time here with us and wish you the best in your future endeavours.”

    Very reliable sources within the airline revealed to Sunday Sun that the disengaged members of staff haven’t received their pensions since the 2012 crash the airline suffered despite deductions being made by the company.

    Also, there are allegations that proper termination procedures weren’t followed and legal severance pay wasn’t provided.

    “I can state categorically that over 1000 members of staff of Dana Air including expatriates have been sacked. Of this number, 583 were direct staff, while the rest, though working directly with us, were casual staff. Contrary to the information out there, the disengagement is not temporal. The staff were told outright that their services are no longer required and those who were disengaged have not received their pension since the crash of 2012 because the company has been deducting pension but it is not being remitted.

    “Temporal disengagement does not exist in the labour laws. Our employee handbook and Labour Law state that if you want to disengage someone, you pay one month in lieu. You can tell the person that his services are no longer required, when that happens, you are to pay the person all that he or she is due including pension and gratuity. Ideally, pension is supposed to be remitted a week after payment of salaries. When you want to disengage, you have to have complete the Full and Final Settlement (FFS). You are to give the person a cheque, which contains his salary. For instance, if the person is earning N100, 000, you are to give the person a cheque of N200, 000 at the point of disengagement or do it through direct transfer. You can’t be owing someone and at the same time, you tell the person that his services are no longer required,” the source said.

    But the airline’s Head, Corporate Communications, Kingsley Ezenwa, in a statement, said the company is undergoing an operational audit by the NCAA and to manage resources effectively during the audit, the airline decided to temporarily lay off some staff members in order to facilitate a smooth audit process and review operational procedures. The airline, in its statement, acknowledged the hardship caused by the layoffs, assured a swift resolution of the situation and promised to keep staff updated and provide support throughout the process. The company said it is already in talks with aircraft lessors towards restarting operations.

    “Dana Air wishes to provide an update on the ongoing operational audit initiated by the regulatory authorities.  In light of the ongoing audit, Dana Air has made the decision to temporarily disengage some staff members pending the conclusion of the audit. This decision has been made to ensure efficient management of resources and to facilitate a thorough review of operational procedures.

    “The Management of Dana Air extends its sincere appreciation to all staff members for their resilience and dedication during this period of uncertainty. It recognises the difficulties that staff have had to endure and assures them that every effort is being made to resolve the situation promptly.  Dana Air remains committed to providing updates and support to its staff throughout this process and while these challenges are being addressed, Dana Air has commenced talks with lessors and are currently engaging stakeholders on the progress made so far.  The management is working diligently to address any concerns and is preparing a restart plan that will ensure the safe and efficient resumption of operations.”

    Reacting to the development, the President of the National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Abednego Galadima, said the airline’s action contravenes Nigeria’s labour laws and that the union would be communicating with the management on how best the situation can be resolved.

    Last month, the acting Director General of the Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Chris Najomo, wrote to the accountable manager of Dana Air, notifying him that the agency has imposed a suspension on its Air Operator Certificate (AOC) with effect from Wednesday, April 24, at 23:59 to ‘allow for a thorough safety and economic audit’ following a serious incident an aircraft belonging to the airline suffered.

    The letter to Dana read: “Subsequent to the runway excursion involving your MD-82 aircraft with registration marks 5N-BKI at the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Lagos on April 23, 2024, the Authority is awaiting the preliminary report of the investigation launched by the Nigerian Safety Investigation Bureau (NSIB). As a precautionary step and in accordance with section 31(7) of the Civil Aviation Act, 2022, the Authority has imposed a suspension on your AOC with effect from April 24, 2024 at 23:59 to allow for a thorough safety and economic audit.”


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