BY VICTOR AHIUMA-YOUNG
DOCKWORKERS branch of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has called on the National Assembly to set up a high powered committee to investigate alleged unfair labour practices by the largest container terminal in West Africa- APM terminals- and take appropriate action to ensure industrial peace.
The union in a statement claimed that in 2009, leaders of MWUN alerted the public and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, about the alleged increasing unfair labour practices by the management of APM terminals, but lamented that instead of abating, the reverse had been the case.
In the statement by the President of Dockworkers’ branch, Adewale Adeyanju, the union said the call became necessary for an independent body like the National Assembly to look into the claims by the union and take action before the issue degenerated to an unprecedented industrial unrest in the maritime sector.
Adeyanju recalled that the Minister of National Planning, Samsudeen Usman, recently spoke of the hazardous working environment in APM Terminals, which he said was unhealthy for humans.
According to him, instead of addressing the unfair labour practices, AMP Terminals had resorted to disparaging, insulting and maligning a respectable unionist, the president-general of MWUN and a Vice President of Nigeria labour Congress, NLC, Nted Anthony Emmanuel.
The statement said “We are shocked to read about the reaction and the use of disparaging, insulting, and maligning among other uncivilised and uncultured words by APM Terminals management through its spokesman, Bolaji Akinola, to the issues of unfair labour practices raised by our president general in a briefing on our dispute with APM Terminals a week ago.
Instead of addressing the issues raised, APMT and Bolaji were busy disparaging, maligning and insulting a well respectable man in labour movement, a vice president of NLC and our President-General, Comrade Nted Anthony Emmanuel. We are giving APMT and Bolaji one week to not only withdraw those words used against our president-general and tender an unreserved apology to him, or we will declare Bolaji Akinola, a persona non grata in the Ports.
“If Bolaji must know, the only people the president general is working for is the workers and nobody else. They elected him and he will continue to do their demands. We are using this medium to call on the National Assembly to set up a high powered committee to investigate our claims that APMT is engaging in unfair labour practices for them to take appropriate action before the issue will degenerate into unprecedented industrial unrest in the ports.
“In 2009, leaders of our union raised these issues of unfair labour practices by APMT. Instead of decreasing, it is worsening. Just recently, the Minister of National Planning was at APMT and described the place as very hazardous for humans. We are not going to relent until the management of APM Terminals abides with the minimum labour standards in accordance with the law of the land and international best practice,” the statement said.