Commuters groan as BRT drivers protest salary delay in Lagos

COMMUTERS in Lagos, on Tuesday, groaned as drivers of the state Bus Rapid Transport (BRT) downed tools over alleged delay of their salary.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reported that the scheme, being operated by Primero Transport Services Limited, provided bus services on dedicated lanes or corridor in the 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 that “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 staffers, including the engineers and ground staff, have been receiving alert but the drivers have not received ours. Can we drive this bus with an empty stomach?”

Adejire said apart from delayed salary, the drivers wanted improved welfare and working conditions.

Another driver, Mathew Oyeyemi, told NAN that the alleged delayed salary had made it difficult for him to offset the medical bills of his daughter who was recently involved in an accident.

Attempts by the company’s Managing Director, Mr Fola Tinubu, to have the protesting drivers resume work failed, as the drivers denied being calmed.

Mr Tinubu hinged the delay in salary payment on an error on the part of the banking institution handling the disbursement, adding that the money should be in their accounts by now.

On the allegation of reviewed salary structure, Tinubu said the company’s management took the decision to review the salary to instil discipline in the protesting drivers.