Railway workers petition Presidency, accuse management of frustrating monetisation policy

The Nigerian Union of Railwaymen (NUR) and the Senior Staff Association (SSA) of the Nigerian Railways Corporation (NRC) have petitioned President Muhammadu Buhari, Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives  Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, over the non-implementation of the monetization policy as it affects the NRC staff quarters. The policy requires the management to relinquish its hold on the quarters for staff to assume ownership.

The two unions had written separate petitions to the President and the National Assembly, complaining that despite January 6, 2016, verdict of the National Industrial Court resolving the matter in their favor, the management has refused to implement the policy, which came into effect in 2005.

In documents made available to SaharaReporters, the unions stated their case with vigor. The one addressed to the Presidency was dated  October 14, 2016, with the reference number NUR-SSA/225/Vol.I/77. The other, with the reference number NUR-SSA/225/Vol.I/78, was addressed to the National Assembly.

Headlined ‘Monetisation of Staff Quarters Of the Nigerian Railway Corporation: Federal Government Policy Left Unimplemented,’ the consolidated petition was jointly signed by the Secretaries-General of NUR and SAA, Comrade Segun Esan and Comrade Romanus Emezie respectively.It accused the NRC management of lacking the will to implement the monetisation policy as it affects the staff quarters despite implementing the other aspects of the policy.

The unions further alleged that the management, in connivance with other agencies, is working to frustrate its members’ effort to own the houses as stipulated by the monetisation policy of the Federal Government.

“The management of the Nigerian Railway Corporation lost the political will to implement the aspect of staff quarters monetization, but gladly and hurriedly implemented the monetization of furniture allowance, leave grants, meal subsidy, motor vehicle loans, and indeed the aspect of consolidated salary structure which, in conformity with the monetization policy, was to be the last level of implementation of the policy.

“The monetization of staff quarters was left unimplemented by the management of Nigerian Railway Corporation from 2005 effective date until we went to the National Industrial Court of Nigeria (NICN) in 2011 to challenge the injustice. The case was adjudicated over for five years, and on Wednesday,  January 6th, 2016 the Nigerian Railway workers were vindicated: the case ended for the Union and its members,” the petition said.

The unions added that they decided to turn to the President to direct the NRC management to honor the verdict of the competent trial court on the matter.

The petitioners also attached a certified true copy of the judgment, Suit No NICN/LA/11/2012 BTW NUR & ANOR Vs NRC & ORS to the petition.

“The management should relinquish further hold on the staff quarters and commence with immediate effect the process of transfer of ownership to the Nigeria Railway Workers who are sitting tenants in the quarters nationwide,” the petitions added.

The unions observed that the promulgation of the monetisation policy has been a major means through which Federal Government has avoided incurring heavy costs of vehicle maintenance for entitled officers,  a retinue of domestic servants for senior officers and sundry perks.

They also noted that to a significant extent, the government has been freed from the burden of these costs and has empowered officers to own houses and maintain same from their enhanced financial remunerations.

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