Members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (NWUN) yesterday crippled business activities at the seaport terminals across the country over the refusal of the operators to pay benefits and wages to members.
Yesterday’s action followed the expiration of the two-week ultimatum given to the operators.
Restating the union’s position, MWUN President General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, told journalists that the IOCs have so far refused to engage the union on the issue, thereby leaving it with no option than to begin the industrial action.
According to Adeyanju, the issue of unpaid wages has lingered for over a year, and “enough is enough. The IOCs need to respect the laws of the land. These people are denying us our rights by failing to pay our wages.”
He commended the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Hadiza Bala-Usman, for her efforts to rally the IOCs operating offshore and onshore Nigeria’s territorial waters, adding, however, that some workers have died from situations directly and indirectly connected to the unpaid wages.
In an earlier letter forewarning of the industrial action, titled, “Non-payment of Stevedoring Wages due to Dockworkers by International Oil Companies (IOCs),” MWUN had vowed that it would no longer watch members die prematurely due to the attitude of the IOCs.
“We want to use this medium to intimate you, and the Federal Government, of the non-payment of stevedoring wages to dockworkers by the international oil companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria,” the letter circulated to the media read in part.
“We are aware that on June 1, 2018, the NPA appointed stevedoring contractors to provide stevedoring services at various off-shore, jetties and on-shore locations to the international oil services and other operators.
“It will be necessary to inform you that NPA had held several meetings with these operators to grant access to the government-appointed stevedoring contractors, process their invoices and effect payment, but unfortunately, the operators have refused to comply with the NPA directive after one year that the contractors were appointed.”
When contacted, the General Manager, Corporate and Strategic Communication of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Engr Adam Jatto said the agency was aware of the MWUN strike threat and are engaging them.
According to him, the authority is optimistic that the issues would be addressed and resolved amicably and the strike averted.
“We are actually on it, we are having discussion with them (the union) and unionism is about dialogue so we believe we will be able to strike a dialogue before the end of today.”
Source: Daily Trust