Anxiety as NLC backs Maritime workers’ threat to shut down Ports


Issues FG two weeks ultimatum

The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has endorsed the threat by Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to shut down the nation’s ports and terminals nationwide over lingering unresolved issues with operators and government agencies in the sector.

The NLC issued a two-week ultimatum starting from Monday, March 6, to the Federal Government, through the Ministries of Transportation and Labour, to urgently take action or the union would embark on a total strike.

President of the NLC, Joe Ajaero, gave the order yesterday in Lagos during a working visit to the national secretariat of the MWUN to proffer solutions on pertinent issues bothering the union.

The President-General of the union, Adewale Adeyanju, who briefed him on challenges they face, had explained that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) refused to obey government Marine Notice of 2014 and Extant Stevedoring Regulations.

According to Adeyanju, the government also refused to pay aged seafarers monthly pensions in spite of court ruling.

He said the government had also failed to restore registered onboard ship gangway security and tally men even as he condemned the lack of minimum standard conditions of service for members in the shipping sector as it obtains for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), dock labour and seafarers.

Adeyanju said the union had written to the Ministry of Labour since August 2021 but nothing had been done.

He noted that the union was waiting for the signature of the national body to embark on the long-awaited action.

Ajaero, in his response, lamented that despite moves by the union for almost two years, the Federal Government had ignored them, which calls for the shut down of the nation’s ports.

He further noted that considering the position of maritime in the nation’s economy, issues concerning the interest of workers should not be toyed with.

The NLC chief quipped that he had no sympathy for any employer who does not have the interest of his workers at heart, stating that the labour congress would provide adequate support to the union to shut down the ports.

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.

“As the president of NLC, I don’t have sympathy for anybody for toying with the 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 an illegal response. What the law requires is to be notified but you have sent letters since 2021. There is a 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.”


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