•Seeks dredging of Calabar Ports
By Victor Ahiuma-Young
MARITIME Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, have decried alleged unfair Labour practices by shipping companies operating in Nigeria, warning the companies to end perceived anti-Labour policies and practices to avoid the wrath of organized Labour.
At the Union’s National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in Lagos, it’s President-General, Prince Adeyanju Adewale, lamented that the shipping companies had no regard for the welfare of workers and that the Union would no longer tolerate the practice.
According to him, “It is sad to note that the Nigerian Shipping Industry perhaps houses some of the worst employers of Labour across the globe who demand so much from their employees, but pay peanuts as wages. They employ practices and standards that dehumanised their employees and challenge their dignities.
“After several efforts to make them conform with minimum international standards, we had to declare a state of emergency on the Nigerian Shipping Companies, issued a 21-day ultimatum including the intervention of the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, to force dialogue with the companies.
“We call on the Federal Government to immediately call the shipping companies in Nigeria to order and make them obey the nation’s extant Labour laws especially as they affect minimum wage. A situation where an employee will be forced to remain on one scale for 20 years is not only callous but intolerable and will no longer be acceptable. Even more appalling is their penchant for outsourcing of jobs. We wish to use this medium to put the general public on notice that the Union will no longer tolerate these anti-Labour practices and will not hesitate to declare industrial unrest in the Nigerian Shipping Industry.”
Prince Adewale also called on the Federal Government to dredge the Calabar Ports, saying “We feel confused on the report reaching us which points to the fact that decades after the award of contract for the dredging of the Calabar Ports, nothing has been done till date. This is not only unfair to our members in Calabar Ports who have been denied employment opportunities, but also reducing the level of maritime activities in the area that should stimulate other economic activities among other benefits. We call on the federal government to compel the contractor to site to dredge the ports.
Similarly, statics shows that Lagos Ports, that is Apapa and Tin Can Island Ports receive over 90 percent of import and export cargoes in Nigeria and are under intense pressure with facilities, while the personnel are overstretched. To ease the situation, we call on the Federal Government to immediately expand other ports in the country.
Not only in terms of land space, but in terms of ports operational machinery to bring these ports to function at maximum capacity. We believe that doing this will ease tension in Lagos Ports and ease congestion and gridlock on Apapa-Oshodi Expressway.