Commuters stranded as BRT drivers protest in Lagos
Thousands of commuters were stranded on Monday stranded on Ikorodu-Lagos Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) corridor and other routes following a protest by the bus drivers across the state.
The commuters were seen on long queues at various BRT bus terminals at Ikorodu, Ketu, Ojota, Palm Groove and Onipanu, waiting for the buses.
It was gathered that the buses were off the roads following a protest by the drivers over the non-payment of their allowances.
The drivers complained against an alleged termination of the appointments of recruiting agents by Primero Transport Services limited, the operator of the BRT buses.
Efforts to speak with Fola Tinubu, managing director of Primero proved abortive as his phone numbers were switched off. However, Mosunmola Agbaje, the public relations officer of the transport company, told BusinessDay on a telephone that the drivers were not direct employees of Primero as they are outsourced. Agbaje, who regretted the inconvenience caused the commuters, said the issues the drivers have with the outsourced firms were being resolved.
Some of the drivers, who spoke under the condition of anonymity, said Primero had released a memo on Friday saying that it had terminated the appointment of the four agents recruiting drivers for the organisation.
“There has been no leave granted to any bus driver in the past one year, even when we work for six days per week. Primero sent a memo last Friday saying that it had terminated the appointments of the four agents recruiting bus drivers for the organisation.
“Those drivers still interested in the job are now required to reapply directly to Primero, should they still be interested in working with the company.
Another driver who identified himself simply as Abdullahi, said that the fate of drivers’ pensions in the circumstance was unknown, under the new arrangement.
According to him, the drivers’ tax payment was always deducted from their monthly salary, but they have no evidence of a tax card to show that they have actually been paying any taxes.
Abdullahi also said that the drivers had not been given any leave allowance.
The drivers said that Primero was not their problem, but the agents that recruited them.
They, however, appealed to the state government to come to their aid in resolving the issue.
JOSHUA BASSEY with agency report
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