The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) declared its readiness to go on an indefinite strike over its protracted face-off with the International Oil Companies (IOCS). The union warned that, unlike in the past, it would no longer issue any ultimatum.
Speaking exclusively with Shipping Position Daily, the President General of the union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju expressed surprise that the International Oil Companies could flout the directive of the Federal Government through the then-Minister of Transportation; Mr Rotimi Amaechi that the companies should enable registered dockworkers, along with the appointed and deployed stevedoring companies, to operate on the IOCs’ platforms.
He noted that, even though the directive was given last year, only a few IOCs have obeyed. According to him, the IOCs had ignored the minister’s directives.
Shipping Position Daily recalls that, in February this year, the MWUN had issued an ultimatum that it would embark on strike and cripple the nation’s seaports and jetties by March 1, over the IOC’s non-compliance with the extant stevedoring regulations, otherwise known as Government Marine Notice 106 of 2014.
The union said the directive issued since last year, was supposed to enable the registered dockworkers, along with the appointed and deployed stevedoring companies, to operate on the IOCs platforms.
But, Comrade Adeyanju told our correspondent last week that, “a whole respected honourable Minister of Transportation in this country issued an ultimatum to all IOCs; giving them seven days to comply with these extant laws of Stevedoring Act. Seven days is now almost five or six months”.
Comrade Adeyanju acknowledged that, the union has tremendous respect for the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which always intervenes each time the union threatened to go on strike. He declared that the MWUN is tired of being persuaded to rescind its decision concerning the IOCs.
“Because of the respect we have for the management of the Nigerian Port Authority, anytime we want to do it the way we usually do it, they call us for a meeting. As a responsible union, we believe if our employers call us for a meeting, we need to honour them. That is why we are a little bit silent on this matter; but as it is now, we are not going to listen to anybody”.
According to him, this time, the union is resolute and “the strike can come in any minute, hour or day, because we should have issued out so many ultimatums. But the union this time around is not issuing any ultimatum. We may just wake up one day and do it the way we normally do. Maybe that will help us to get what we have been talking about for the past three to four months”.
Giving a snippet of what the union is doing, Adeyanju told Shipping Position Daily that: “Very soon, we are going to reconvene our NAC and CWC. We only suspended the strike”.
When asked if the MWUN is helpless in the face-off with the IOCs, Comrade Adeyanju declared that, “the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria is not helpless. We are only weighing options and before we embark on a legitimate strike we weigh options. As a respected and responsible union, we look at the economic situation of this great country”.
“As a critical stakeholder in the maritime industry, we weigh options before we embark on a strike. Not that we are helpless, we are not helpless”, he insisted.
We can do it (strike) in such a way that the whole world will be praising us. But as a responsible union which knows what the country is passing through, we have decided to put it on hold for now and that’s why we are saying enough is enough. We are not going to issue an ultimatum again”.
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