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Nigeria: Railway workers suspend strike to demand better welfare

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The Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) says they have suspended their three-day warning strike after resolutions were made with concerned authorities.

In a communiqué of resolutions jointly signed by the leaders of the union, resolutions were made after meetings with the NRC Board in Abuja, Nigeria's capital and with the Federal Ministry of Transport (FMOT) in Lagos.

They resolved that a committee be set up with immediate effect on the review of the standard condition of service with timeline lasting to the 31st day of January 2022.

The parties agreed that all the train crews be given insurance cover as the train passengers and the goods in transit and that the personal data on deceased workers be collected for processing of immediate payment. It was reported that every worker was already covered by the group life assurance scheme.

The parties also agreed that no member of staff shall be victimized as a result of his/her participation in the three-day industrial action of November 2021.

Africanews Nigeria correspondent Micheal Dibie reports that passengers faced tough times during the three days stirke as ground operations at all rail stations across the country were halted.

Farouk, a student from the University of Abuja, said he was going to Kaduna for the weekend to see his family but was stranded at the station and had to look of an alternative means of travelling.

He says he was not aware the trains were not working. “I can’t even begin to express how disappointed I am, I just want to go back and see my family, but the trains are not working, so I have to go by road,” he said.

“I think those who travel regularly are more disappointed, I don’t travel often, I travel once in a while and I didn’t even know about it,’ saidMartin Paul, another passenger. .

Indeed, there were no trains on the popular Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kaduna, and Warri-Itakpe routes.

The union said they embarked on the strike to press demands with the government on the welfare of staff.

“Must we continue to do things in primitive manner as we have been doing, government has the money and know what to do, we are saying, invest in us, we are human beings that will do the job, they have invested a lot of money on infrastructures, so as you are investing in infrastructures, also invest in us that will drive the infrastructures” - Ayo Olurunfemi, National Secretary General, Nigerian Union of Railway Workers said.

Dibie reported that the sector lost about N90m (about $219,000) during the three-day warning strike.

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