Lagos Commuters Stranded as BRT Operators Embark on Strike


Gboyega Akinsanmi
Drivers and ticketers of Primero Transport Services Limited, the operator of the Ikorodu-CMS Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and ticketers on Tuesday embarked on an indefinite strike over non-payment of their salaries and arrears by the transport company.

Consequently, all BRT routes in the state, especially on Ikorodu Road, were practically deserted while commuters were stranded in different bus stations due to the industrial action.

THISDAY checks revealed that the striking drivers earned about N50,000 monthly, though the BRT operator had not paid them for two months, which it was gathered, culminated in the strike.

A member of staff, Mr. Sulaiman Hammed, explained what caused the industrial action, noting that the striking drivers and ticketers were yet “to collect their July salary and that their monthly bonus has been reduced due to stringent conditions attached to the collection of the bonus.”

He said Primero “is maltreating us. We are being sanctioned unnecessarily by the company. Sometimes, they do give us two weeks suspension on any slight mistake and they will deduct the money of the days we did not work as a result of the suspension, from our bonus.”

In an interview with journalists, Hammed explained that their salaries “have been reduced from N50,000 to N40,000. They have reduced our salaries from N60,000 to N40,000 under the pretense that we are lazy and our bonus was increased from N20,000 to N40,000.”

In a statement he issued yesterday, the Managing Director of the transport company, Mr. Fola Tinubu, explained the position of the company, noting that the drivers “are paid N50,000 monthly and N20,000 bonus.”

He explained that some of the drivers would take the bus out and parked it somewhere without meeting up with the needed target and still collect the monthly salaries and bonuses.

He added that what the management decided was “to reduce the monthly salaries to N40,000 and increase the bonus to N40,000 so that those who did not work would only collect the N40,000 while those who meet up with the target would collect both.”
He said the company would not tolerate a situation where some people who did not work would collect full salaries and bonuses, adding that those who did not work would not be paid.

Primero Transport Service Limited was recently given the sole franchise to manage the BRT scheme after the Lagos State Government terminated the contract with the National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) due to what was ascribed to inefficiency and poor service.
When it started operation in November 2015, Primero deployed 435 high-occupancy vehicles. But the company later bought 50 additional vehicles, bringing its fleet to 485.