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Industrial unrest looms in the ports over wage

VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
THERE are indications that aggrieved Dockworkers may shut down the nation’s ports any moments from now over perceived refusal of the terminal operators  to review upward their wages since June 2010 when the subsisting conditions of service elapsed.

The leadership of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, after a day warning strike that crippled ports operations nationwide, gave the management of Nigeria Port Authority, NPA up till month end to resolve the matter or face industrial consequences without notice.

Investigation revealed that dockworkers have become very restive as there are no indication that the Management of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, which met with the leaders of Maritime Workers of Nigeria, MWUN and leaders of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN, to find a solution to the dispute is yet to do anything barely a week to the month end deadline given by the workers.

The leaders of MWUN are finding it increasingly difficult to calm the restive dockworkers whom they had assured that the matter would be settled before the end of end of March.

Few days to month end, as the matter is still pending, the workers are now said to be putting pressure on the leadership of the union to order a total strike to compel NPA and others concerned to do the right thing..

It will be recalled that commercial and other activities in the nation’s ports were on March 8, shut down by aggrieved dockworkers over the refusal of the terminal operators  to review upward their wages since June 2010 when the subsisting conditions of service elapsed.

The industrial action which  paralysed operations at Lagos, Warri, Calabar and Port Harcourt ports with the exception of Onne Ports, where the action did not take place, stalled loading and off-loading of berthed vessels among other operations.

President-General of MWUN, Comrade Emmanuel Nted who confirmed the restiveness of members of Dockworkers’ branch of the union over the delay, called on the management of NPA and government to hasten up and get the matter resolved to avoid another round of industrial unrest that would do nobody any good.

Collaborating, President of Dockworkers branch of MWUN, Comrade  Adewale Adeyanju, lamented that increasingly, “I have been receiving the heat from workers and they are asking questions which I must confess, have no answer to yet. The situation is very tense and threatening.”

During the March 8, shut down, Vessels which were being discharged the previous day that was not completed were left unattended to.

Most of the offices at the various terminals were opened but the workers were restricted to paper work.
Helpless importers, Customs agents and other users of the ports who were had business engagements in the ports expressed sadness in the development, and lamented their loses.


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