The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened to go on strike as from Monday June 5th 2023 over issues bordering on welfare of its members in the shipping sector.
The President General of the union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju while briefing journalists on Thursday in Lagos said the union will from Monday down tools and recall its members over the failure of the shipping companies’ management to discuss and negotiate the welfare and condition of service of its members in the shipping sector.
He lamented that in spite of several interventions and meetings which sought an amicable resolution of the issues culminating in the issuance of a further 7-day ultimatum after the expiration of the previous 14 day ultimatum earlier issued, the shipping companies have refused to comply.
He further explained that the former Minister of Transportation Muazu Jaji Sambo in a bid to ensure a peaceful industrial climate in the Shipping Sector had directed the management of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC) to superintend a collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) meeting between MWUN and all shipping companies in Nigeria.
He noted that despite several meetings called at the instance of NSC, the shipping representatives deliberately forestalled the negotiation process citing lack of mandate from their respective principals and insisted on maintaining status-quo.
He said owing to the unwillingness of the employers to negotiate minimum standard and condition of service for its members in the shipping sector, the union is left with no option than to resuscitate the earlier 7-days Ultimatum issued the Shipping Employers in the sector by withdrawing the services of its members inclusive of her members in the seafarers, dockworkers and NPA branch nationwide with effect from Monday, 5″ June, 2023.
According to him: “The Minister has asked NSC to midwife it between the MWUN and the Shipping companies, meeting upon meeting was called at the instance of ES NSC Emmanuel Jime, who have been meeting with the union and the management of the shipping companies
“But the attitude of the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) is nothing to write home about and that is why we said there’s need to inform you
“Yesterday, we were at the meeting and it didn’t augur well with the union and we felt it’s an embarrassment to the union and even to the Minister of transport who initiated the idea of having Minimum Standard in shipping because the way it is the remuneration in Shipping is like a death sentence, it’s like the SAN are now running away from their responsibility
“So why we call this briefing is to let you know that the Shipping branch of MWUN will be forced to withdraw the services of her members as from Monday 5th of June because we only suspended the ultimatum, but the way it is now we need to renew the ultimatum so we might be forced to withdraw the service of all the shipping workers in the shipping branch.
“Not only that, the three arms of the branches too, the dock workers, the NPA and the Seafarers are equally warming up for solidarity support because it has to do with the welfare of the workers, if you are talking of remuneration, it is a worker that is well remunerated that performs well.
Speaking also, the National Treasurer of the MWUN and former President of the Shipping branch; Mr Uche Igweonu described the attitude of the shipping companies as lackadaisical and that of those who have no respect for their workers.
He said: “What we have seen from our employees since 2018 is an attitude of not bothering about the welfare of workers in the industry. I say so because from 2018 when we started the negotiations they never bothered to tell us that the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) was not appropriate to negotiate with us, it was in late 2019 that they said SAN is not appropriate to negotiate with us, so, we waited for them to get the appropriate body to negotiate with us and we made it clear that irrespective of whatever names they choose to answer that the negotiations we are holding is with our employers.
“The meeting we held in 2018 had all manners of employees in attendance and they agreed and set up a committee by themselves which we restated that the committee that was set up to negotiate this was carried out by the employers not SAN so it took us seven months for them to agree they are going to use the name SAN, now that we are negotiating with them they have chosen not to give any increase on all the items presented and the question we ask is why after several years” he said.