By Victor Ahiuma-Young
Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, has directed workers to shut down all operations of shipping companies and begin an indefinite nationwide strike from Monday over a lingering dispute with shipping companies concerning the poor pay package and welfare of employees.
At a briefing, Thursday, the President-General of MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, lamented that since 2018 Organised Labour had been battling with the shipping companies on the minimum standard for shipping companies on the welfare of workers to no avail.
According to him, despite several ultimatums and interventions of the immediate past Minister of Transportation, Muazu Sambo, the Shipping companies, mostly multinationals, had refused to yield, expressing sadness that the working conditions of the workers in the nation’s shipping industry were nothing short of modern-day slavery.
Prince Adeyanju warned that the Union would not hesitate to declare full and total industrial unrest in the ports in solidarity with the shipping companies’ workers bringing in Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, staff, Dockworkers, and NIWA/Seamen and Water transportation employees because an injury to one is an injury to all.
He said “MWUN wishes to bring to the attention of the general public its bewilderment at the care-free attitude of Shipping companies management to discuss and negotiate the welfare and conditions of service of our members in the Shipping Sector/Industry This is in spite of several interventions and meetings which sought an amicable resolution of the unresolved welfare issues of our members in the Shipping Sector culminating in the issuance of the 7-day ultimatum after the expiration of the previous 14 days ultimatum issued.
“Related to the above, the immediate past Minister of transportation, Muazu Sambo, in a bid to ensure a peaceful industrial climate in the Shipping Sector directed the management of Nigerian Shippers Council, NSC, to superintend a collective Bargaining meeting between MWUN and all Shipping companies in Nigeria towards arriving at a minimum standard or a template for the industry. Unfortunately, despite several meetings called at the instance of the NSC in its premises, the shipping companies’ representatives deliberately forestalled the negotiation process citing a lack of mandate from their respective principals insisting on maintaining status-quo.
“Consequent to the foregoing and the obvious unwillingness of the shipping employers to negotiate minimum standard and condition of service for our members in the Shipping Sector/industry, MWUN is left with no option than to resuscitate the earlier 7-day ultimatum issued the shipping employers in the sector. In line with that, we therefore direct our members to withdraw their services including our members in the Dock, Seafarers, and NPA from all Ports.
Jetties, Terminals, and Oil and Gas Platforms Nationwide with effect from Monday, 5th June 2023, and begin a total strike until further notice.”