The Nigeria Union of Railwaymen (NUR) and its sister body, Senior Staff Association for the Statutory Corporation and Government-Owned Company (SC GOC), have shut down all train services across the 26 stations in the country to mark the commencement a three-day warning strike.
Innocent Ajiji, the President-General of NUR, confirmed this to FIJ on Thursday morning. Ajiji said the demonstration became necessary as the federal government and the NRC had shown no will to yield to the unions’ demands.
“There is full compliance across all the 26 stations of Nigeria,” he said.
FIJ had reported that the two unions gave the federal government and the management of the NRC three weeks, which elapsed on November 14, to meet their demands for improved salaries for NRC staff, incorporation of life insurance, and payment of promoted staff arrears from 2018 to date, among others.
Although Yakub Mahmood, the Deputy Director, NRC Public Relations, denied knowledge of the demands, FIJ exclusively gathered that the NRC and Rotimi Amaechi, the Minister of Transportation, held two closed-door meetings with the union’s leaders following the ultimatum.
Specifically, Amaechi met with the leaders on Saturday, November 13, assuring them of tabling the matter before President Muhammadu Buhari upon his return from South Africa.
“The meeting ended in a subtle deadlock,” a source told FIJ. “The new excuse that the president was not in the country shows that the government had not been serious with the NRC staff’s demands, because if they had, they would have discussed this as far back as August.”
In late October, NRC made national headlines after suspected terrorists made multiple attempts to derail one of its trains between Kaduna and Abuja stations, forcing the corporation to briefly suspend the Kaduna-Abuja standard gauge stations to repair damaged tracks.