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Workers to protest against concession of railways

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Workers have threatened not to allow the privatisation of the Nigeria railway system, unless existing labour issues are settled.The President of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), Mohammed Yunusa has disclosed.

Yunusa, who stated this in Abuja yesterday, said the workers would protest against the plan.He absolved the workers of any blame in the collapse of the railway system, adding that they did their best to make it work.

The union also faulted the action of the management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) for threatening to eject workers from their official quarters.He said: “We went to court to get a judgment that the sitting tenants of the house should have offer of first refusal to the houses.

“Even though the management said they were appealing against the ruling, they should allow the workers to have the opportunity to buy the houses. That is part of the labour issues that we are not happy about.”He warned government not to hide under the guise of concession to lay off workers.

“As an association with over 20,000 membership base, we shall resist with all our might, any concession arrangement that leads to a job loss,” he said.He said the workers would resist it both at the Nigerian Railway Corporation, or any other public corporation in the country.

The union also urged the Federal Government to properly fund the Nigeria Housing Authority (FHA) to deliver on its mandate.He said this would reduce the burden on private real estate developers, who are actually building for the rich.

Meanwhile, the Federal Government has signed an agreement to concession the narrow gauge of the railway.The Head of Communications, General Electric (GE), Nigeria, Yewande Thorpe, disclosed this in a statement.

Thorpe said, as part of the interim phase on the rail concession, remedial works would be carried out on the narrow-gauge rail line system.This, she said is to make it technically and economically operable.

This plan is coming as the International Consortium led by General Electric (GE) in Washington D.C. has been awarded the preferred bidder status.The consortium involves a leading infrastructure construction services corporation, SinoHydro, and transportation and logistics infrastructure management firm, Transnet.Also involved is a global port, terminal and intermodal inland services provider, APM Terminals.


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