Court orders Arik Air To Pay Ex-Staff’s N5m Pension Fund, Salary and Allowance

The Lagos division of the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN), on Wednesday, ordered Arik Air Limited and Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to immediately remit the complete monthly pension contributions of Mr Kalu Sylvester for the entire period of his employment with the airline, into his Retirement Saving Account with his Pension Fund to the tune of N4, 302, 450 million.

Justice Maureen Esowe, who presided over the court also ordered both Arik Air Limited and AMCON, to pay Mr Kalu the sum of N735,820, being his unpaid salary, and allowance for the month of November 2015.

Justice Esowe held that there is no evidence before the Court that Mr Kalu was paid his salary and other ancillary allowances for the month of November 2015 even though he worked for this period.

The claimant, Mr Kalu Sylvester during the trial of the suit had submitted that he worked for Arik Air between the year of 2010 to 2015, and that he resigned after he gave the company 1-month notice of his intention to resign.

He averred that the airline refuses paying him the sum of N155,000 representing his one-month salary in lieu of resignation and the sum of N580,000 allowance package; and also discovered after his resignation that Arik Air Limited only remitted his pension contribution for October 2011, February 2012, January and February 2013 throughout the 5 years of his job with the company.

But Arik Air, in its defense, told the court that the claimant, Mr Kalu, breached his employment contract and is not entitled to November 2015 salary and the salary in lieu of notice, because it wasn’t the firm that terminated his employment; and also not entitled to leave allowance under the terms and conditions of his employment.

AMCON in its defence by its lawyer, told the court is not a proper party to the suit, and that the claimant also failed to disclose any cause of action against the agency, and urged the Court to resolve all issues in their favour and dismiss Mr. Kalu’s case for lack of proof.

Responding to the defendants’ arguments, claimant’s lawyer, Dr. Iwowo Anthony, submitted that an employer who deducts funds from an employee’s monthly salary for the purposes of contributory pension is duty bound to remit the fund to the pension manager of the employee, and urged the Court to grant all the reliefs sought in the interest of justice.

Delivering the judgment, Justice Esowe held that Mr Kalu Sylvester has proved the case as required by law, and declared that Arik Air failure to immediately remit the complete monthly pension contributions of Mr Kalu for the entire period of his employment into his Retirement Saving Account to the tune of N4, 302, 450 million, as unlawful, illegal, and same is in clear breach of contract of employment.

Justice Esowe also held that for all intents and purposes, AMCON is a proper party in this suit for, if not for anything, it is a party by implication, and also a party for the purpose of enforcing the judgment of this Court given the facts of this case.

On Mr Kalu’s claim for one month’s salary in lieu of notice, the Court held that it was Mr. Kalu that brought the employment to an end by giving 1-month notice to Arik Air and cannot turn around and ask for 1 month’s salary in lieu of notice that doing this is tantamount to beating somebody and yet crying the tears that are meant for the person beaten.