The ongoing strike embarked upon by the Maritime workers Union of Nigeria(MWUN) may not be called-off soon, this is because the meeting that was called by the Nigerian evening that, even though the leadership of the union honoured the invitation of the NPA, feelers were that there was yet to be any concrete commitment on the part of the International Oil Companies (IOCs), which have allegedly refused to pay their stevedoring contractors.
The stevedoring contractors are the employers of dockworkers who are members of the union. The MWUN had accused the IOCs of not paying the dockworkers for more than one year since they were engaged.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that the union had made good their threat to paralyse activities in the nation’s seaports yesterday, by calling out its members in Lagos, Onne, Calabar, Port Harcourt and Warri to embark on total strike.
The workers had moved into ports’ gates in the early hours, and by the time work was to resume at the various terminals, there were no commercial activities, as no truck was allowed to assess the ports, while activities at the terminals were also paralysed.
The leaders of the union left the port facility at around 10:25am when the NPA Executive Director, Marine Operations, Dr Sokente Davies came to meet with protesting port workers at the Apapa port gate, assuring them of a meeting by 1 pm.
Speaking with newsmen shortly after meeting with the MWUN leadership, the NPA Executive Director Marine operations said that the NPA is with the workers over their unpaid entitlement from the IOCs.
According to him “you can see the action of the MWUN. It is an action geared towards making sure people obey rules and regulation in this country.
“The stevedoring contractors were appointed over a year ago, I think on the 28th of May 2018. That was when they were appointed, but since last year, the workers are not being paid. Some of these workers, their children have been out of school for a while due to non-payment of their entitlements by the IOCs. Some families have even broken up due to this issue.
"So the management of the NPA empathises with the workers over their situation. We empathise with the workers because we are the ones who appointed the stevedoring contractors.
“However, we are going to sort the issue because, the IOCs, who are the major recalcitrant in this matter, have started calling for a meeting since the workers began their action.
“The awareness has been created, and we believe the meeting that will hold by 1 pm today(yesterday) will solve the issues.”
Also addressing newsmen, the President-General of the MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju reiterated the desire of the Union to continue with the strike action until the final outcome of the 1 pm meeting.
“We will be attending the meeting with the IOC’s by 1 pm. Until then, nothing has been agreed. The strike remains total.”
But, when contacted by one of or correspondents, late yesterday, Comrade Adeyanju confirmed that the meeting did not yield any tangible result. He consequently declared that the strike will continue today.