The Nigeria Union of Railway Workers (NUR) recently won a case in the National Industrial Court (NIC) for the full implementation of the monetisation policy for its members. The union had dragged the federal government to the NIC after declaring a trade dispute on the matter. It has also gone a step further by demanding improved welfare packages for railway workers, as part of the ongoing rehabilitation of the railway system.
Segun Esan, the NUR General Secretary, in the last week of February hammered on the centrality of workers for the rejuvenation of rail transport, which had been allowed to go to rot over the last few decades. According to Comrade Esan, “you don’t concentrate on rehabilitating workshops, rail tracks, locomotive engines, buying coaches and engines and landscape, without the exercise positively and directly impacting on the lives of the workers.”
The approach of the union might however be futile, as it has chosen to appeal to the government, instead of setting out the quest for its members’ improved remuneration and working conditions as demands. There is hardly anything of note that workers have won by begging. When we dare to struggle, as Socialist Worker continually points out, we dare to win.
NUR should also not rest on its oars thinking that since the NIC has passed a judgment in its favour for the full implementation of monetization, this is as good as done. Recent experiences of so many unions show that, despite NIC rulings, the federal government more often than not chooses to do as it likes.
What is required for NUR to do at the moment, is to step up the mobilization of its members to fight for their right. The monetization policy would be implemented and welfare of NUR members improved upon, only through consistent and unambiguous struggle.