Home News Turkish Airlines says flight disruptions by NUATE members illegal

Turkish Airlines says flight disruptions by NUATE members illegal

by Business News Report

Turkish Airlines has described as illegal the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE) ‘s recent picketing of the organisation, which disrupted its operations and forced flight cancellations on Tuesday. The airline made its position known in a statement issued by its media relations office on Thursday. It said the National Industrial Court (NICN) had on April 30 issued formal notices of injunction restraining NUATE and its affiliate unions from embarking on any industrial action to disrupt its business. The airline said NUATE’s action, carried out under the auspices of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), was contrary to its transparency and management principles and had caused serious financial losses.

“Our attention has been drawn to various malicious and unfounded publications orchestrated by the National Union of Air Transport Employees (the ‘Union’ or ‘NUATE’) regarding Turkish Airlines and its former employees. We would like to respectfully announce to the public that the Airline has no tolerance for this and all similar illegal and wrongful actions and will act accordingly and exercise all its legal rights regarding the process,” it said. Turkish Airlines further explained that the problem began when it dismissed seven of its NUATE members. The union then claimed that their dismissal was based on trumped-up charges. “In late 2023, the airline discovered an unfortunate pattern of ticket racketeering, particularly various ticketing reservation violations committed by seven employees. This caused the airline significant economic losses valued at more than $600,000. Upon discovering the violations, the airline immediately engaged the union in discussions on how to address the said violations.

“Specifically, the union was invited and acted as a member of a disciplinary committee set up to review the matter concerning the erring employees,” the airline said. The airline explained that it later determined, after the presentation of irrefutable evidence detailing the employees’ wrongdoings, that the employees were liable for gross misconduct and ought to be dismissed. It said after the conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings, the airline advised the employees to resign voluntarily, which three of the seven employees took. The remaining four employees indicated they were interested in resigning later. 

“In spite of the clear and undisputable evidence of wrongdoing identified, the union has continuously threatened to paralyse the airline’s operations in Nigeria by way of industrial action if the employees are not reinstated. Premised on the threat of industrial action issued by NUATE by notices dated 28 February 2024 and 25 March 2024, the Airline instituted proceedings in Suit No.: NICN/LA/24/2024 – Turkish Airlines Incorporated v The Registered Trustees of the National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), seeking to determine the legality of the Union’s (threatened) actions, among other things,” it said. The airline said that after the institution of this suit at NICN and after service had been effected on the Union on February 9, 2024, NUATE proceeded to execute their threats to picket it while motions for injunction were pending before the court.

It said that on March 26, 2024, union members of NUATE barricaded the airline’s check-in stations at Murtala Muhammad Airport, Lagos, and prevented its passengers from boarding for over two hours. NUATE’s attempts to cause a complete breakdown of law and order at the airport were thwarted only by the intervention of the airport authorities. “Premised on the actions of the Union on 26 March 2024, the Airline would like to state that since 2006, when it launched its operations in Lagos, Nigeria, it has continued to put the interest of its passengers and employees first. The airline has always encouraged its employees to participate in any union of their choice and has sought to work harmoniously with all governmental and non-governmental bodies in Nigeria,” it added. (NAN)

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