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Labour directs workers to shut nation’s ports Wednesday

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By Victor Ahiuma-Young, Godfrey Bivbere & Eguono Odjegba

LAGOS—LEADERS of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN,  yesterday directed members to withdraw their services and shut ports operations nationwide from Wednesday over unpaid wages to  Dockworkers, among other issues.

Members of NLC in front of Minister of Labour’s house during the protest over the refusal by the Minister to inaugurate the Board of NISTF in Abuja yesterday. Photo by Gbemiga Olamikan.

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They  warned that once the strike start, it would not end until all demands were met.

Recall  that MWUN had on June 11, issued a 14-day ultimatum to the Federal Government to compel the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to pay over a year outstanding wages to    dockworkers, among other issues or face nationwide industrial unrest.

The leaders of the union had last week set up a strike coordinating committee and directed its officials in all port formations nationwide to begin a massive mobilization of members ahead of the planned strike.

MWUN in a letter to the Permanent Secretary Ministry of Transportation, dated June 27, 2019, signed by its Secretary General, Felix Akingboye,  among others, lamented that at the expiration of the ultimatum, nothing was done to address the union’s demands.

According to the letter, “Consequently, the leadership of the union has directed that members of the union shall withdraw services throughout the nation’s seaports effective 0.600 hours (6am) Wednesday, July 3rd 2019.”

The Union’s letter was copied among others to the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, President of the Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, President, National Associations of Stevedoring Companies, Executive Director, Finance and Administration, NPA, terminal operators and shipping companies.

The union  had in the June 11, ultimatum asked the Ministry of Transportation to within two weeks ensure the payment of the outstanding wages and address all other related issues, failing which the nation’s ports would be shut down

MWUN in a statement by its President-General and Secretary General, Prince Adewale Adeyanju and Felix Akingboye, said it could no longer watch while members die prematurely and suffer humiliation of not being able to meet basic necessities such as house rent, school fees, medical bills among others.

The statement read in part “we want to use this medium to intimate you and the Federal Government of the non-payment of the stevedoring wages to dockworkers by the International Oil Companies, IOCs, operating in Nigeria. It is on record that on June 1, 2018, the NPA appointment stevedoring contractors to provide stevedoring contractors to provide stevedoring services at various off-shore jetties and on-shore locations to the International Oil Services and other operators.

It will be necessary to inform you that NPA had held several meetings with these operators to grant access to the government appointed stevedoring contractors, process their invoices and effect payment, unfortunately, the operators have refused to comply with the NPA directive after one year that the stevedoring contractors were appointed.

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