By Victor Ahiuma-Young
LEADERS of the two unions in the nationâ€™s Maritime industry, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, and its Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporations, SSACTAC, Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA branch counterpart, weekend shelved the planned industrial action scheduled to commence Wednesday over pending workersâ€™benefits.
The suspension was reached after hours of meeting with the management of NPA, where the management was said to have agreed to not only pay outstanding benefits, but also to positively address other issues raid.
The two unions had on 29 March 2010 issued a 14-day ultimatum to the management of NPA to resolve all impending issues bothering on workersâ€™ welfare, failing which the entire sector would be shut down
They are accusing the management of, among others, non-implementation of agreed minimum standard for dockworkers, for tally clerks and on-board security, non-payment of outstanding severance benefit to dockworkers, non-payment of gratuity to retired NPA workers, non-payment of monetisation arrears, non-payment of agreed 2008 bonus and non-implementation of the new NPA condition of service for workers.
Vanguard gathered, however, that while the management of NPA sought about one month to enable it take the issues to the Board of NPA which is expected to meet at the end of the month to get approval for payment, the leaders of MWUN and its NPA branch of SSACTAC, counterpart, insisted they could only give two weeks and would need to meet with their members to inform them of the development.
Confirming the shelving of the planned strike, President-General of MWUN, Comrade Nted Emmanuel, told Vanguard that a larger meeting of workers and leaders at zone, district and the pool levels would be held this week to brief them of the new development.