By Chinedu Eze
After struggling in the past four years to remain operational despite its financial challenges, one of Nigeria’s foremost airlines, Aero Contractors may have laid off about 100 workers.
Inside sources said this may be one of the strategies to offload some of its financial obligations and reposition the airline, but the airline in an official statement said it did not sack any of its substantive work force.
The source said that most of those affected by the sack were support staff that had spent few years with the airline and explained that majority of the sacked workers were not original staff of the airline.
According to the source, those affected by the development were contract staff whose contract had expired with the company, adding that some departments and workers were outsourced by the management, stressing that since the airline no longer required their services, it was pertinent for them to be relieved of their jobs, insisting that no staff of the airline was affected by the management decision.
The source insisted that what the organisation did was not to sack workers, but reduce workforce especially those whose services were no longer required by the airline.
The source said that the reduction in staff cut across all the departments in the company and equally confirmed that over 100 personnel were affected by the decision.
“Those laid off were not staff of our airline. You know in Aero, some departments and duties are outsourced. So, what the management did was not to renew their contracts once it expired.
“I can tell you that our staff are intact and we don’t have the plans to retrench workers. We didn’t have the need of those outsourced and we felt they should be withdrawn from our services”, he said.
A letter to one of the affected workers said that the sacking was as a result of the ongoing restructuring in the airline.
The letter reads in part, “Dear colleague, in the light of the ongoing restructuring at Aero, we regret to inform you that your services are no longer required and employment with SBL terminated with immediate effect”.
“Please, return all company properties to your Manager/Supervisor by 8am on 28/04/2016. We regret any inconvenience caused.”
Media consultant to the airline, Simon Tumba, in a terse reaction to the sack report explained, “In the course of reorganising and repositioning its business, Aero Contractors has reviewed its relationship with Skyborne by cutting down some of the serves required from the company. This will help the company to invest more resources to enhance customer service. For the record Aero has not sacked any of its staff.”
Aero has been in the throes of financial trauma, leading to its takeover by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) and the recent change of its management.