The leadership of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and the management of Tincan Island Container Terminal (TICT) on Monday disagreed over terms of service under new management of the terminal and shipping company once taken over by new management.
Recall that MWUN had sought clarification to the rumoured acquisition of the terminal and the shipping arm, Bollore Africa Logistics
In a meeting with the union leaders on Monday, TICT Managing Director, Etienne Rocher, while trying to convince the union members that the transaction would bring no change to contract relations between the workers and the management of the terminal operators stated that the status quo would be maintained.
“No change to contract signed by TICT either to employees, contractors or dock labour. There is no change in obligation on the part of the company towards employees and vice versa.
“On the issue of negotiation with shipping workers, he said there was no such negotiation whatsoever between the management of the terminal and shipping workers.
He also denied the statement credited to him that he told some workers to leave if they want to leave.
In a unanimous response one after the other, the Presidents of Shipping branch, Comrade Ekpeyong Ekpeyong, Dockworkers branch, Comrade Ibrahim Ohize as well as TICT District Chairman and other executives, rebuffed the MD’s explanation.
The union leaders and members cited what happened when the port was concessioned in 2006 and in LANSAL shipping company in 2010, the workers said they lost their welfare payment because adequate clarifications were not made.
The workers affirmed that since there is a confirmation of take over of the TICT and Bollore by MSC, the workers who have been working over the years should be paid off and allowed to go instead of labour transfer to new management whose terms are yet to be deciphered.
Speaking, the President General of the union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju while applauding the MD reminded him that the workers had made up their minds to receive their monies instead of entering into a contract they are not sure of.
“No grammar that can change the minds of workers about the acquisition. The workers have made up their minds about their pay.
“We need to be on the same page with you and this is a message you are hearing from your workers and you have to take it to the global management
“These are rye things we heard when the port was about to be concessioned. We have always heard that nobody would lose their jobs. They always come with sweet words but at the end of the day, we hear different things.
“We all know what transpired in 2006 in Surulere where we lost some of our members when workers burnt down terminals, secretariat.
“There is no how the new management will run away from their responsibilities.
“There is no how you can convince everybody in this hall because all they are saying is that they should be paid what they have worked for and get away.
“For the workers that have worked for 15 to 17 years, there is no way we can say their jobs are guaranteed when there is going to be a new management.
What the workers in TICT are saying is that pay me what I have worked for and if I like, I come back or get away.
“Already, we have something in our hands but an uncertainty is going to take place even though you said the buyers were coming to buy a good product, why not give us what belongs to us?
“I want to be silent on the issue of CBA mentioned by the MD because we are going to align with the template that the ITF will adopt since it is not only a Nigerian issue,” the PG averred.