... Threatens To Shutdown Port Operations On Monday
The Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Thursday, lamented that the port economic regulator; Nigerian Shippers Council has totally lost its control and regulatory powers over shipping companies refusal to obey the federal government interventions concerning the poor pay package and welfare of employees.
To this end the maritime labour union , directed workers to shut down all operations of shipping companies and begin an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday 5th June 2023 over a lingering dispute with shipping companies and MWUN.
The Union warned that the strike action is going to be total, as the three other branches of the union namely; Dockworkers, Seafarers and NPA Branch are to show solidarity support for the the strike.
Speaking at a press briefing, the President-General of MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, lamented that since 2018 Organised Labour had been battling with the shipping companies on the minimum standard for shipping companies on the welfare of workers to no avail.
He stated that“The Shippers Council who happens to be the economic regulator, it’s like the SAN are above them, the shipping companies are more than the economic regulator and there is no way we can continue like that.
The matter has been dragging for the last six years” he said.
According to him, despite several ultimatums and interventions of the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, the shipping companies, mostly multinationals, had refused to yield, expressing sadness that the working conditions of the workers in the nation’s shipping industry were nothing short of modern-day slavery.
Continuing, the labour leader, said the matter has been dragging for the past six years, and the shipping companies have refused to implement a minimum standard for shipping companies workers.
Speaking he said “Several ultimatum has been issued to the shipping companies, the union is requesting a minimum standard for shipping workers.
“The former Minister of Transportation, Eng Muazu Jaji Sambo had directed the Nigerian Shippers Council to midwife the process between MWUN and Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN)
There has been meeting upon meeting at the instance of the Executive Secretary of the Shippers Council, but the attitude of the SAN is nothing to write home about.
“Yesterday, they were at the meeting and it did not go well, this is an embarrassment to us and even the Ministry of Transportation who initiated the idea.
As it is, the remuneration in the Shipping sector is like a death sentence, the SAN are running away from their responsibility.
“The Shipping Branch of MWUN would be forced to withdraw the services of their members from Nigerian seaports all over Nigeria as from Monday because we only suspended the ultimatum, from the way it is now, we need to renew it.
The three other branches of MWUN; Dockworkers, Seafarers and the NPA Branch are equally warming up for solidarity support.
“This matter is not new to all the stakeholders, ultimatums are given and they try to talk us out of it. Because of the sensitivity of the ports, we always weigh the options, but the way it is now, there is no way we are going to continue issuing ultimatums.
“The Minister did not make a mistake by asking the Shippers Council as an economic regulator to midwife this negotiation process, it is the nonchalant attitude of SAN that is making us take this step.
By Roland Ekama