The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has directed district managers to be ready to shut down train stations in the event that railway workers go on strike as threatened.
In an internal memo issued on Tuesday, in the aftermath of a threat by railway workers to embark on three-day warning strike from November 18th to November 20th, NRC Managing Director, Engr. Fidet Okhiria, alerted all district managers and relevant officers of the need to protect railway assets in the event the strike goes ahead.
The railway workers had in a letter titled, “Notice and Directive to embark on 3-day warning strike nationwide,” dated November 12th, addressed to the District Chairman/Secretary Nigeria Union of Railway workers and Senior Staff Association, said they had resolved “that all the district organs (DWCs) of the NUR and SSA should, as a matter of expedience, summon a general meeting of all the workers of their districts on Monday, 15th November 2021 at exactly 10.00 a.m prompt and, in unambiguous terms, notify the entire workers of the commencement of a 3-day warning strike beginning from midnight prior to Thursday, 18th through Saturday, 20th November 2021.”
To avert the strike, the Minister of Transportation, Mr. Rotimi Amaechi had invited the labour unions to a meeting on Saturday but it ended in a deadlock.
However, Okrikha said if no truce is reached, train service should be shut down with effect from Wednesday night.
The memo read, “With regards to the impending warning strike action, the management and board have met with the two in-house unions to deliberate and resolve issues that are still in discussion to avert the proposed warning strike action.
“However in the event of a strike action, you are please requested to do the following to ensure that railway assets are protected adequately.
“The RDMs, managers and coordinators are to prepare and shut down train services appropriately by midnight of Wednesday, 17th November 2021.
The memo also directed the officials to move all locomotive and coaches for Abuja-Kaduna, Warri-Itakpe and Lagos-Ibadan train services to safe places.
The MD further directed that all revenue collected should be banked by Wednesday.
“All RDMs, managers and coordinators should ensure that the running sheds and workshop areas are property secured. All RDMs, managers and coordinators should also endeavour to alert all private security outfits under their jurisdiction to be on standby to ensure the safety of railway assets,” the memo added.
General Secretary of the Nigerian Union of Railway Workers (NUR), Comrade Segun Esan, in a chat with Daily Trust last night said the mobilization for the warning strike has been massive, adding there was no going back.
He said, “Efforts are being made to stop it but we’ve already shared ourselves (national officers of the NUR and SSA) out across the system to provide leadership to our State organs and members for the three day warning strike to be very effective.
“The strike starts on midnight of this Wednesday prior to the dawn of Thursday 18/11/2021. The mobilization for the strike is unprecedented and the entire NRC workers are top gear for the warning strike.”