By Victor Ahiuma_Young
LAGOS PRESIDENT-GENERAL of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN),Comrade Emmanuel Anthony Nted, has said the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), should be held responsible should members of the Dockworkers branch of the union make good their threat to shut ports operations on Thursday day over unpaidÂ wages to their tally clerks, security and other colleagues in the past one year.
The President-General of MWUN, stated this even as the Dockworkers have vowed that only payment of the wage could stop the planned industrial andÂ shut down the entire port operationsÂ in the country from Thursday.
The aggrieved dockworkers had last Tuesday threatened to shut down ports operation within the next seven days if the authorities of Nigeria Ports Authorities (NPA), failed to payÂ their tally clerks , security and other colleagues their one year unpaidÂ wages.
Reacting to the planned industrial action, President_General of MWUN,Â Nted Anthony Emmanuel, blamed the management of NPA for the tension n the ports and declared the Managing DirectorÂ should be held responsible should the workers decide to shut down the port by next week.
He lamentedÂ that the management refused to pay the money claiming that the person who signed the agreement was not suppose to do so.
â€˜The new Management says that they do not agree with the collective agreement signed with the former management and directed us to Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA)â€ he said.
Comrade Nted posited that the union was later told that the workers were too many and could not be paid as staff which made the over 4,000 workers to become casual workers.
He explained that as casuals, the dock workers agreed to earn N23, 000 per month and operate for eight hours for 22 working days.
â€˜It means that they are paid N187 per hour and a worker is paid according to his work, but one year later, they are yet to receive their money,â€ the union president_General said.
He noted that the Tally Clerks and Security workers form an integral parts of the port authority as they take record and monitor its activities.
â€˜That is why we rejected efforts made by NPA to bring in Cargo Surveyor to replace Tally Clerks and Security,â€, he stressed
According to him, the money for the workers was not negotiable since privatesâ€™ ports have paid the minimum standard and posited that the management of the NPA should be held responsible for any disruption of ports operations by the aggrieved workers, calling on NPAÂ to meet the workersâ€™ demand.
It could be recalled that at a peaceful protest to the union secretariat at Kirikiri Phase one, Apapa, Lagos, where hundreds of the aggrieved workers went to intimate their leaders about their planed industrial actions, the workers called the management of NPA unprintable words and vowed that after seven days if the money was not paid, the Managing Director of NPA should be held responsible for whatever be fell the ports.
ers have been paid the money by the tally clerks and security has not been paid..
Receiving the workers at the union secretariat, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, President of Dock WorkersÂ of the MWUN, commended the workers for their peaceful protest andÂ urged them to return to work after their grievance had been made to known.
â€˜I want to say that government should not blame us if NPA fail to pay us our money after seven days,â€ he said.
He called on President Umaru Yaâ€™Adua to act before activities of the Nigerian Ports are brought to a halt.