Senior Staff Association of Railway Workers has said that workers are not against the planned concession of the Nigeria Railway, but that it was appealing to the Federal Government to pay-off rail workers before the exercise.
The union insists that the major bone of contention is workers’ welfare, which must be considered by taking necessary measures towards settling the all entitlements.
Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Railway Workers, Northern District, Mr. Huseini Abdul, stated: “Workers are not against the planned concession, we are in support of the move, because we want progress.
“The agitation of our leaders at the headquarters is before the concession, let government pay us off, so that they can recall anybody they are interested in to work with.”
While noting that the workers’ main concern was their fate during and after the concession, Abdul said what is paramount to the union is, “Are we still going to be carried along or we will be retrenched?”
“Actually, we have been hearing from President Muhammadu Buhari through the Minister of Transport, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, saying that no worker will lose his job.“However, we have seen what happened in cases of NEPA and NITEL, where workers were assured that nobody would be affected, but eventually something went wrong,” he recalled, even as he appealed to government to allow railways staff to own the houses they are occupying.
The chairman added: “We are still insisting that government should allow us to own our quarters, because of monetisation as directed by an industrial court in Lagos, which stated that the quarters be monetised to the staff.
“This has been bothering us a lot because you find out that in other organisations, both in the federal and state levels, their houses were given to their workers, why not in the railway.
“We have been paying the rent every month and every year. This privilege was given by President Obasanjo’s administration, and we feel it is high time we also benefitted from it.’’