According to reports, Justice Agbadum Fishim of the National Industrial Court has declared that the termination of over 800 workers of the defunct Air Nigeria was illegal, ordering the defendant (Air Nigeria), owned by Jimoh Ibrahim, to pay them the sum of N475, 280, 492.48.
Ibrahim was also ordered to pay them $309, 270.00, being the claimants’ arrears of salary, and pay each of the claimants their respective one month salary in lieu of notice.
The judge also ordered that the defendant shall calculate each of the claimants’ contributory pension entitlement and pay same to their respective Pension Fund Administrator and pay N5 million cost to each of the claimants.
Justice Fishim warned that all payments be made not later than 30 days from the date of the judgment that failure of paying the entire sum would attract 10 percent interest.
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 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 to them by Jimoh Ibrahim through the CEO of the airline, Kinfe Kanssaye, who also signed them.
However, they claimed that the termination of their employments did not follow due process adding that the workers did not withdraw their respective services to Air Nigeria, as they did not write any letter to the company.
The workers averred that prior to the termination of their appointments by Air Nigeria, 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.