The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has directed the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to shut down Nigeria’s ports and terminals over lingering unresolved issues with operators and government agencies in the sector.
The President of the NLC, Comrade Joseph Ajaero gave the directive at the secretariat of the affiliate union on last week during a courtesy visit to the union.
Ajaero directed MWUN to write the Ministries of Labour and Transportation and to issue two weeks ultimatum over the myriads of issues bedevilling the sector saying failure to take action, the labour union would shut down the industry.
MWUN had explained that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) refused to obey government Marine Notice of 2014 and Extant Stevedoring Regulations.
He added that the government also refused to pay aged seafarers monthly pension inspire of court ruling. He further added that the government had failed to restore registered onboard ship gangway security and tally men
He fumed over lack of minimum standard condition of service is put in place for members in the shipping sector as it obtains for the Nigerian Ports Authority, Dock Labour and Seafarers.
According to him, the union had written to the Ministry of Labour since August 2021 but that nothing has been done even up till the present time.
In his response, the NLC president said that he had no sympathy for any employer who did not have the interest of the workers at heart, even as he asked the maritime union leaders to issue two weeks ultimatum to the ministries of Labour and Transportation and thereafter shut the port if their demands were not met.
According to him, the national labour union would provide adequate supports to the union to shut the port.
He said, “Articulate the bullet points to the minister of Labour. If it is possible, give them two weeks ultimatum from now because nobody will accuse you of not being patient since 2021 till now
“I as the president of NLC, I don’t have sympathy for anybody for toying with interest of workers.
“Show them the letter and shut the port and let the ministry of transportation and labour do their work“If they fail to follow suit, we will support you. The people cannot be seen violating the law. Every illegal action requires illegal response. What the law requires is to be notified but you have sent letters since 2021.
“There is need for us to act now.
“We are standing behind you as a labour movement because if there is a union that stands with the NLC, it is MWUN.
What I want to hear is action because we have suffered.”
As a result, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju promised that the union would spring into action with immediate effect.
Adeyanju stated that he was not as gentle as he might seem when it comes.to welfare of workers.
He maintained that the signature of the national body is what the union has been waiting for to take the long-awaited action.