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General News of Tuesday, 16 November 2021


Railway workers to embark on three days warning strike

Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) engines Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) engines

The Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) and Senior Staff Association (SSA) of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) branch have said it is set to embark on a three-day warning strike starting from Thursday 18th to Saturday 20th November, 2021.

The warning for the planned strike, according to the labour unions, is to press home their demand for improved welfare and standard condition of service.

This was contained in a letter addressed to the Managing Director, NRC and jointly signed by the President General and Secretary of NUR, Innocent Ajili, Segun Esan and President and Secretary, SSA, NRC Branch, Aliyu Mainasara and Jibrin Kadir respectively.

According to the letter, the leadership of NUR and SSA, NRC Branch, noted that after extensively waiting for years for the management to attend to the plight of the corporation workers which had not yielded fruits, they unanimously decided to proceed on the three days warning.

The railway labour union’s group alleged that rather than make their demands happen realistically the management has consistently indulged in time buying and endless pontifications.

“With your attitude towards the welfare of the workers of the corporation and style of responding to matters of importance to the workers, we have completely lost the hope that things will ever get better for the toiling workers of the corporation under your management if the only approach and methodology explored to relate with you is our usual leniency, perseverance, understanding, willful cooperation and comradeship which you have completely frustrated,” the group said.

However, giving the reason for the ultimatum, they stated their grievances to include: the non-payment of promotion arrears for 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021; unpaid monthly salaries of some workers, especially those who entered service in 2019; transferring workers without adequate provision of accommodation and relocation allowances; deliberate refusal to complete the review of the standard condition of service started few years ago and which was last reviewed for implementation in 1978; delayed allocation of the replaced quarters to all the occupants of the demolished quarters, hence causing the affected workers serious mental, social, and financial agony past three years.

Others include: demolition of some quarters in Oshogbo and subsequent reallocation of same to the affected occupants as rest houses instead of allocation as staff quarters; demolition of staff quarters in Ikeja and handing same to LAMATA without due diligence and without a tripartite agreement between LAMATA, the workers representatives and your management detailing conditions, terms and plans to replace the demolished quarters.

It also stated that , “These include our demand for rents to the occupants of the demolished quarters at Alagomeji, Loco area beyond just one year rent given them in 2018 when their quarters were demolished for the construction of Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge railway.

“Others include non-payment of allowances to the workers especially those workers in AKTS and WITS who work even in the weekends and beyond 40 hours a week as clearly prescribed by the PSR; our demand for salary enhancement; conversion of some workers in our industrial clinics from CONHESS to CONPSS salary regime deliberately ignoring the fact that these workers are to enjoy CONHESS salary structure as succinctly explained in the circular from the office of the Executive Chairman of the NSIWC, Ref No SWC/S/04/S.410/Vol. II/349 of 8th December 2009; general deplorable condition of work and lots more.”

Consequently, they said in view of all the foregoing, “the leadership of the NUR and SSA has unanimously resolved to embark on a three-day warning strike nationwide with effect from Thursday, 18th to Saturday 20th November 2021 and with plans to mobilize for total and indefinite strike action should all our demands still be left unmet.”

The letter reads in parts: “In view of the planned three-day warning strike over which the entire workers of the corporation have been fully mobilized, we reason to inform you to take absolute responsibility of ensuring the safety and protection of all the railway assets- fixed and movable -and the workshops all through the period the warning strike will last.

“Our intention and reason for embarking on this strike are to bring to the awareness of the federal government, your management, and the Nigerian public the painful and inhuman condition under which railway workers work in Nigerian Railway and ultimately earn your empathy and that of the federal government to meet our legitimate and just demands.

“The entire workers of the Corporation have sworn never again to continue to suffer deprivations, demotivation, neglect, and poverty while the diverse Nigerian publics exist in the conviction that all is rosy with us here just simply because of the heavy publicity of the infrastructural renewals ongoing in the rail transport sub-economy,” the letter stated.

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