Mr Huseini Abdul, the Chairman, Senior Staff Association of Railway Workers, Northern District has appealed to the Federal Government to take necessary measures to pay-off railway workers before the planned concession.
He told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria, Kaduna State on Saturday that the workers were not against the planned concession of the railway.
Abdul said: “Workers are not against the planned concession, we are in support of the move because we want progress.
“But our major bone of contention here is the workers’ stand, our welfare must be considered by taking all necessary measures towards paying us off before concession.
“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,” he pleaded.
He said that the workers’ main concern was their fate during and after the concession “this is paramount to the union’’.
“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 the cases of NEPA and NITEL, where workers were assured that nobody would be affected, but eventually something went wrong,” he said.
The chairman also appealed to government to allow railways staff to own the houses they were occupying.
“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 bordering 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 benefit from it,’’ he appealed.
Abdul said that Obasanjo’s administration affirmed that any staff that stayed in government quarters at that period should be given the privilege to own it, “but why should we be denied our own rights?”
He called on the Federal Government to monetise the quarters before the concession would take effect.
“This is because we are still within the system and we deserve to be treated as such and to be given such privilege of owning our houses,” he said.