Justice J.T Agbadum- Fishim of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria today delivered a judgment that the termination of over 800 workers of defunct Air Nigeria was wrongful, just as the court ordered the defendant (Air Nigeria) owned by business mogul, Jimoh Ibrahim to pay the claimant the sum of N475, 280, 492.48.
Ibrahim was also ordered to pay them the sum of $309, 270.00 being the claimants’ arrears of salary, just as the defendant was ordered to pay each of the claimants their respective one month salary in lieu of notice.
Also granted by the judge is that the defendant shall calculate each of the claimants’ contributory pension entitlement and pay same to their respective Pension Fund Administrator. The defendant shall pay to the claimants the judgment sum not later than 30 days from the date of the judgment.
Justice Agbadu-Fishim warned that failure of which all the sum will attract 10 per cent interest.
The plaintiffs represented by Livinus Olisakwe, Roland Ahmed, Odunukwe Christopher, Awonga Israel and Jaja Somiari Dandison had sued the company, Air Nigeria Development Company Limited and prayed that a declaration that the purported termination of the claimants’ employment by the defendant via media in the face of newspaper is wrongful, unlawful, illegal, null and void and of no effect whatsoever.
In a suit filed by the workers’ solicitors; Muhmad Adesina ESQ and Ogunsany &Ogunsanya against Air Nigeria and other two defendants, the workers said they were all employed by the Virgin Nigeria Airways Limited via their respective letters of employment but that on December 31, 2010, Virgin Nigeria Airways Limited was change to Air Nigeria Development Limited and all business related and liabilities of Virgin Nigeria Airways Limited were transferred to Air Nigeria.
The workers through their solicitors also averred that the letter notifying them of the change was communicated them by Barrister Jimoh Ibrahim through the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, Mr Kinfe Kanssaye, who also signed the letters.
The termination of their employments ,they said did not follow due process as contained in the employment hand book, adding that the workers did not withdraw their respective services to Air Nigeria Development Limited as they did not write any letter to the company.
The workers averred that prior to the termination of their appointments by Air Nigeria Development Limited, the airline owed workers arrears of salaries; from May to August, 2012 and that some were paid for the month of May only, while others were not.
The workers in their suit claimed that prior to the wrongful termination of their appointments, they have had contributed 7.5 per cent of their salaries to the Pension Contributory Scheme, while the company contributed 7.5 per cent but that despite deducting this amount from the salaries of the workers, the company has not been remitting same to the pension scheme as agreed upon by employer and employees.