The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has ordered the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to shut down the nation’s seaport over the Federal Government’s failure to take action regarding the welfare of workers in the industry.
Speaking during a courtesy visit to the MWUN on Friday, President of the NLC, Comrade Joe Ajaero directed the union’s President General; Comrade Adewale Adeyanju to issue a two weeks ultimatum to the government to review workers’ salary and address the myriad of issues affecting the sector. He declared that failure to take action the union will be forced to close down all the nation’s seaports.
According to him, the MWUN has written to the federal government since 2021and has waited for two years for intervention, even as he stressed that the union will not be blamed for taking such a decision. He stated that illegal actions require illegal approach.
He said: “You wrote to the Minister of Transportation since August 2021, and 2022 came and passed and we are approaching August 2023”. Addressing the MWUN PG, he said, “President, if it is going to be possible, give them two weeks ultimatum from today”.
Speaking further, he said, “Because nobody will accuse you of not being patient. Patient for two years running, when we do that they will intervene, they will call; us if not, you know the central position of maritime in Nigeria even in Africa, nobody will toil with anything that concerns our workers.
“On this issue alone that labour has been writing since 2021 and this is 2023, I as the NLC President, I don’t have any sympathy for anyone who is toiling with the interest of our workers. MWUN President General, the decision is yours, when you decide, do them a letter and shut the seaports in the country. We are saying it openly, for refusing to listen to the union two years after.”
“Let the ministries concerned including the Ministry of Transportation and Labour do their jobs. If they don’t act on this, NLC will join you. We are going to give you a solidarity support. Put the necessary act and the people who are supposed to act on it.”
Earlier in his speech, MWUN PG Com. Adewale Adeyanju had lamented that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have refused to obey government Marine Notice of 2014 and Extant Stevedoring Regulations.
He added that the government also refused to pay aged seafarers monthly pension, despite court ruling.
He further said that the government had failed to restore registered onboard ship gangway security and tally men.
Adeyanju also decried the lack of minimum standard condition of service for members in the shipping sector as it is obtained in the Nigerian Ports Authority, Dock Labour and Seafarers.
He explained the union had written to the Ministry of Labour since August 2021, but that nothing has been done even up till now.
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