A multinational company, Newrest ASL, which operates inflight catering facilities, lounges and restaurants at the Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport and at Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikwe International Airport, has drew the ire of Nigerians over the unlawful mass retrenchment of members of its staff.
In a reaction to an exclusive to article in Freelanews which highlighted how members of staff of the company had been maltreated and sacked under the guise of cutting costs, several Nigerians have taken to the popular social media platforms, namely Facebook and Twitter, to lambast the company.
Even though the company cited the adverse effects of the novel COVID-19 pandemic as being responsible for the urgent need to downsize, insiders have argued to the contrary. It was revealed that the management, due to its in ability to reach an agreement with the National Union of Air Transport Employees, NUATE, decided to unlawfully sack workers for being members of the union without due process.
While the retrenched employees feel bad about the action especially at a period where most responsible companies are mitigating the effects of the pandemic through sustainability activities, it came as a rude shock to them that their entitlements were seriously slashed or non-existent; an action that was not only a violation of contract of employment and company policy as stated in the Newrest’s employee handbook, but also runs foul of the relevant international best practice like Protection of Wages Convention.
In a testimony by a former employee of the company, Aduloju Seyi, the action of the company didn’t come as a surprise. He wrote:
My name is Aduloju s’eyi, I was retrenched in 2016 due to the sack of union chairman. I put in 10years work with this company, all I got is 3 months salary. Very unjust action.
Another comment from Elmumeen Easaa revealed that he was also one of those affected by the ‘inhuman and unlawful exercise’. He claimed that Newrest carried out the illegal retrenchment in Lagos and Abuja branches with the union chairman and his executives being causalities of the unfortunate tsunami.
Attempts made at reaching out to the Human Resource director of the company, Ibrahim Fearon, proved abortive as his calls were neither picked nor returned.
Newrest ASL, a company delisted by the Nigerian Stock Exchange effective from June 13, 2019 even though it has not updated its website to reflect such, claimed the Newrest Group increased its share of the company’s capital and assumed operational responsibility for the Lagos and Abuja flight kitchens in 2015.
The company boasts of collaborations in airline services & logistics in Nigeria, CGA in Guinea, ORYX in Qatar, Rahal in Morocco and Servair in several countries.
Others include Supply Oilfield Services in the Philippines, Uganda Inflight Services in Uganda and Wacasco in Oman.
Nigerian government and relevant authorities were hereby called upon to ensure that the rights of its citizens are not undermined.