By Kenneth Jukpor
Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has raised concerns over the high level of security threats across the nation, noting that the challenge is evident at the nation’s ports with negative effects on the cost and ease of doing business.
The President General of the MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju stated this at the Quadrennial Delegates Conference of the Shipping, Clearing and Forwarding Agencies Branch of MWUN in Lagos, yesterday.
Adeyanju also described the shipping sub sector in Nigeria to have come under siege, following poor retirement benefits for workers and their conditions of service.
The MWUN boss warned members of the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) to be ready, as the union will spring into action once the elections are concluded, adding that the state of emergency declared earlier still prevails.
His words: “I also want to quickly use this medium to call on members of the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) to urgently institute the process for upward review of the very poor retirement benefit of shipping companies personnel and their condition of service which is virtually non-existent.
“Comrades, distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the shipping sector is under siege, I dare say this because records show that our members in the shipping sector have over the years been underpaid and overworked. This must be stopped now. I am therefore requesting for an overhaul of the remuneration system currently operative in the shipping sector.”
He also noted that another major problem in the sector is the issue of outsourcing of jobs such as security, accounting, human resources, operations etc to foreigners which can be efficiently handled by Nigerians.
“We see this practice as against the principle of local content as canvassed by the federal government,” he added.
Meanwhile, the election saw the re-emergence of Ekpeyong Etim Ekpeyong as President of the branch for another four years term unopposed.
In his address, Comrade Ekpeyong Ekpeyong stated that his administration achieved an above average performance in their core responsibilities despite the deteriorating harsh economic conditions in the maritime industry coupled and the Covid-19 pandemic.
He, however, highlighted some of his achievements to include; an appreciable upward review of Workers’ Union of service in the industry through yearly plant by plant Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations despite the retrogressive attitude of some employers who work against workers’ progress.
Improved redundancy package as a guide in the industry, drastic reduction in number of casual/contract workers, introduction of annual education allowance with ongoing efforts to replicate it in the industry.
Others are; unionisation of workers of the the following companies: GMT Shipping and Logistics, Sinoma Cargo International Ltd, among others.