Any doubt as to whether railway workers will make good their threat to carry out a three-day warning strike was cleared Wednesday as most stations across the country were almost empty and devoid of passengers. Those who came out of ignorance or doubts went back home disappointed.
A notice on the Nigeria Railway Corporation (NRC) e-ticketing app told those fixing journeys for three days: “Dear Esteemed Passengers, Following the proposed labour action, NRC has temporarily suspended ticket purchase from Thursday 18th November 2021. Kindly bear with us as we anticipate expedited resolution. We look forward to welcoming you back on our service as soon as possible.”
Work came to a stand still 12 midnight Wednesday as the workers began their push for better working conditions.
Their demands ranged from payment of outstanding salaries, salary reviews, improve welfare and supports to human resources base of the corporation.
Talks to make them shelve the plan for the strike broke down, forcing the management to scramble security measures to protect facilities.
An internal memo issued on Tuesday, Managing Director of NRC, 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 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.
“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.