Tuesday, 9 August 2016
Commuters groan as BRT drivers protest salary delay
Commuters in Lagos State on Tuesday groaned as drivers of the Lagos Bus Rapid Transport downed tools over alleged delay in the payment of their salary. The scheme, being operated by Primero Transport Services Ltd., provides bus services along dedicated lanes or corridor in the Lagos metropolis. The company, which began operation in November 2015, has 434 buses in its fleet and more than 2,000 staff. Some of the drivers told NAN that they were protesting delayed salary payment, alleged unfavourable conditions of service and poor welfare. When NAN visited the Majidun, Ikorodu depot of the transport company, hundreds of drivers had converged on the bus corridor and barricaded it to prevent movement. Also, buses belonging to the company were seen parked outside. A driver, Mr Julius Adejire, told NAN, “For the past days we have been waiting for our salary for July but up to this moment we have not received alert for the payment. “The funny thing is that as of Monday evening, we discovered that some other workers, including the engineers and ground staff have been receiving alert. “But the drivers have not received theirs, can we drive this bus with an empty stomach?’’ Adejire said apart from delayed salary, the drivers wanted improved welfare and working conditions. “The policy guiding our job is another issue; we are working like slaves because as a driver you cannot stop to ease yourself or have break time or hour. “We are supposed to be doing 40 hours in a week but they subdued us to be doing 48 hours and only one day off instead of two days. “We have been tolerating them before now because we believe this a new project and we thought it needs to be supported, but now the situation is becoming tougher. “We don’t even know where we are heading; the buses are still new, is it when the buses go bad that they will pay us?’’ He added that the management had reneged on is contractual agreement to pay N60, 000 as basic salary and N20,000 as bonus. “In our appointment letter they said we will receive N60,000 as basic salary and N20,000 as performance bonus. “Suddenly, after five months they changed it to N40,000 basic and N40,000 bonus with a lot of conditions attached to the bonus. “For instance, a driver will be denied the bonus pay if he or she is late to work for at least three times a month. “With the conditions attached to it, if care is not taken, 85 per cent of us cannot get that performance bonus.