Nigerian Maritime Workers Union Threatens Showdown Over Treatment By Foreign Shipping Companies

January 27: The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has said that it would declare a state of emergency on foreign shipping companies operating at the nation’s seaports over poor working conditions and a show of contempt towards its members.

MWUN President-General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, who stated this in a media chat last week while reviewing the activities of the union in the last year, accused shipping line agencies operating in Nigeria of engaging the services of foreigners and depriving workers of their promotions and entitlements. 

Adeyanju, who wondered why workers would be stagnated for years without promotion, said he had directed that letters be sent to the shipping companies over the union’s resolve for a showdown with the firms.

He said, “There are lot of crisis in the shipping branch of MWUN from their employers. How can somebody be on one grade for years and they will not review it. I will be meeting with the union shipping branch leader on Monday [January 27] and we will declare state of emergency on the shipping companies because the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) they have does not tally with the present situation of the Nigerian economy.

“They are also culpable of outsourcing jobs. They just bring people from nowhere to do the job that we can do. This year, we are going to face the shipping companies because some of them don’t have respect for Nigerian workers and I have directed that letters be sent to all the shipping companies.”

Adeyanju also accused the shipping companies of fuelling the traffic gridlock on the port access roads as most of them do not have holding bays for their empty containers.

“Look at what is happening on the port access roads. Many people will be apportioning blames on terminal operators, but the shipping companies also need to be blamed. Why are they bringing empty containers to the port when they know they don’t have anywhere to stack them? Why do they turn Nigerian roads to holding bays? People just centre on terminal operators but that is not true, they should blame the shipping companies that are bringing empty containers to the ports. They have turned the roads to their holding bays,” he said. 

Giving insight into the union’s activities for year 2020, Adeyanju said MWUN has written to the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration of Safety Agency (NIMASA) on the need to provide temporary biometric identity card for dockworkers.

“NIMASA should reconvene a meeting of all stakeholders including the union, terminal operators and the stevedoring contractors because in the past, when you disengage a number of people, you need to retrieve the identity card that belongs to them but I think some disengaged onboard security men and tally clerks are still using it while the record of NIMASA is saying that the people are still dockworkers. So the identity card these dockworkers are parading about is fake as far as the union is concern.

“This is a new year; we have sent another letter to NIMASA reminding them the need to have temporary identity cards for dockworkers in the port to identify the good and the bad. We need to identify our members from road transport agberos. If you are for road transport, you cannot call yourself a dockworker but that is what is going on inside the port. This year, we are not going to accept that,” he said. 

Source: Ships and Ports Nigeria / Shulammite ‘Foyeku

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