In a significant show of solidarity, workers at the Lekki Port, Nigeria’s first deep seaport and Lagos ports of Apapa and Tincan joined the nationwide strike on Tuesday.
The strike, initiated by the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and Trade Union Congress (TUC), was a response to the alleged assault on Joe Ajaero, the president of NLC, and other union officials allegedly orchestrated by the Imo State government.
Ugochukwu Eze, Vice President of the Senior Staff Association of Statutory Corporations and Government-Owned Companies (SSASCGOC), in a chat with our correspondent confirmed the shutdown, citing the unions’ commitment to protesting the assault and addressing long standing grievances.
These grievances he said include the government’s failure to implement agreements, non-payment of salary and pension arrears, discriminatory salary practices, and non-compliance with the national minimum wage.
Our correspondent gathered that the deep seaport, a crucial hub for maritime activities, came to a standstill at 6 am, following SSASCGOC’s directive. The union emphasized that the port would remain closed until contrary instructions are given by the union leadership. Notably, our correspondent gathered that no vessels were berthed at the port, and the movement of trucks with containers was restricted.
Capturing the essence of the nationwide strike, pictures of SSASCGOC Maritime leading the closure of seaports circulated, showcasing the united front presented by various maritime unions. The strike’s impact was also evident at the Lagos seaports, where all entry points were closed, and offices of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) remained locked.
Our correspondent, monitoring the situation, observed a substantial presence of port workers at the Lagos Ports Complex, contrasted with a less enthusiastic turnout at the Tin Can Island Port Complex. Comrade Akin Bodunde, President of SSASCGOC, led a team to ensure compliance with the directives from TUC and NLC. Bodunde reiterated their commitment to the cause, stating, “Since the directive is from Organized Labour, we have no option than to comply, and if the NLC, TUC say we should continue tomorrow, we will because injury to one is injury to all.”
As the strike unfolded, members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) were actively involved, stationed at entry points of the Lagos Ports Complex to enforce compliance with the industrial action. The nationwide strike has effectively disrupted port operations, sending a powerful message of unity among Nigeria’s maritime workforce.