Railway workers seek salary review, safety of personnel
With the recent attack on the Abuja-Kaduna train service, workers of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), under the aegis of the Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) and Senior Staff Association, Nigerian Railway Branch, have called on the Federal Government to strengthen workers’ social benefits by embarking on individual insurance and also reviewing their salaries.
They argued that Nigerian railway workers receive the lowest and the poorest salaries out of all the parastatals under the Federal Ministry of Transport.
Similarly, they ask that the Federal Government provides security on trains, workers and passengers. Addressing a press conference, President-General of NUR, Innocent Ajiji and his counterpart, President, Senior Staff Association, Nigerian Railway Branch, Aliyu Mainasara, said pre-meditated attacks on the Abuja-Kaduna passenger train was not just an attack on collective sensibilities and conscience as a nation but also a brazen attack against humanity.
While condemning the act, the unions said it became extremely rational to question the safety mantra of the rail transport system in Nigeria.
The unions urged that the act should serve as a wake up call to the Federal Government and all security agencies to reflect and come up with more terrorist threat mitigation strategies that practically would make the recurrence of train attack a huge impossibility.
They called for close working relationships among security agencies to make trains the safest means of transportation, as well as restore the confidence of the commuting public on the rail transport mode.
“We demand for the extension of the patriotism and goodwill of the Federal Government to workers of the corporation by reviewing their salaries for enhancements. It is through this that the workers can be further motivated to work even more productively.
“We commend the driving crew of the attacked train and all the workers on the train for putting their precious and irreplaceable lives on line by ferrying the passengers to safety despite the fact that their salaries are not worth writing home about.
We hope that the management of Nigerian railway will embrace the option of swiftly responding to welfare issues of the workers, which, regrettably, have suffered gravely in the hands of the management.
“However, in the advent of the management of the corporation still depriving the workers of their welfare and due conveniences, we shall have no option than to explore workable alternative strategies to demand for the legitimate rights of the workers,” the union said.