2000 employees.of the Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC), has dumped the corporation over poor salary structure and wages paid to them by the Federal Ministry of Transportation (FMOT), BUSINESSinsiderng, has learnt.
Speaking ahead of the strike action against poor welfare in the corporation, the president-general, Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR), Comrade Innocent Ajiji said from 2011 till date, over 2,000 of the workers employed by the NRC have left the Corporation.
According to him, the Corporation has the worst salary structure among agencies in the FMOT saying a train pilots earn less than N30,000 monthly.
The NUR President General said, “The pilots who man and drive all our standard gauge trains, be it Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kaduna and Warri-Itakpe are all poorly remunerated. Even the ones that drive cargo trains out of our ports, they all earn below N30,000. Are we not toying with danger? When the people that we entrust to carry passengers and cargoes on our standard gauge trains are not well motivated, can something bad not happen along such voyages?
“Most earn around N20,000 that is when you deduct all the necessary fees like union fees, health fees and others fees usually deducted at source, then most of them are left with something just above N20,000. These are the same set of people we entrust with containers out of the ports.
“These are the same sets of people that we entrust with the lives of passengers along the Lagos-Ibadan, Abuja-Kaduna and Warri-Itakpe passenger train services. Are we not playing with fire in this country?
“If not that our members are well cultured and well trained, something bad could have happened with those cargoes that are being moved out of the ports via rail every day. We are talking of containers that have imported items worth millions of Naira inside them. Yet, our government does not see anything wrong in ensuring that the people that move these cargoes are well remunerated.
“Aside the containers or the wagons, the locomotive engine itself is worth around N600 million Naira. If we add the value of each container that a locomotive carries, 19 containers when it is 40 feet and 38 containers when it is 20 feet, then the value of one single trip out of the ports is above N1 billion Naira. Yet, we employ a pilot who earns below N30,000 to drive these trains. Is that not ridiculous? It’s only in this country that such things happen,” he said.
Also speaking, the secretary-general of the NUR, Mr. Segun Esan, reiterated that many NRC’s workers who couldn’t bear the starving wages left enmass for greener pastures elsewhere, thereby depriving the NRC the much needed man-power to improve its operations.
He said, “The salaries earned by railway workers as at today are the poorest when compared to other agencies under the FMOT or even when compared to other ministries of government. Many professionals who were employed and could have helped in improving the rail sector have left because of the starving wages given to railway workers.
“Between 2011 and 2021, the NRC has done about three to four rounds of recruitment, bringing in about 2,500 people to come and work in the Corporation. But do you know that as of today, we don’t have up to 500 of the 2,500 people employed between 2011 till date still in the NRC. Many of them have left because they couldn’t just cope with the starving wages that are being handed out every month as salaries.
“With the departure of these good hands, the NRC has lost human elements that could have helped in driving the sector forward,” Segun Esan said.