Maritime Workers Threaten to Disrupt Port Operations

February 18, 2022
Maritime Workers

By Adedapo Adesanya

Operations within Nigerian ports face the risk of being disrupted as workers have hinted to pull out maritime works for a two-week strike next month.

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), the umbrella body for workers in the sector, recently petitioned the federal government over an alleged refusal of International Oil Companies (IOCs) to allow stevedoring companies and registered dockworkers access to their platforms for operations, as required by law.

For context, in a letter dated February 14, 2022, addressed to the Ministers of Transportation and Labour and Employment, as well as others including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Nigerian Shippers Council, and the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), the MWUN threatened to shut ports operations nationwide from March 1, 2022, if the IOCs remained adamant.

In the letter signed by Mr Adewale Adeyanju and Mr Felix Akingboye, president-general and secretary of the MWUN, respectively, the union said: “We bring to you the decision of the central working committee (CWC), of the union at its meeting held on January 24, 2022, to embark on an indefinite strike effective Tuesday, March 1, 2022, over the IOCs non-compliance with the Extant Stevedoring Regulations known as Government Marine Notice 106 of 2014.”

It will be recalled that the minister of transportation at a meeting held on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, with the IOCs, representatives of NPA, NIMASA, MWUN, stevedoring companies, and other stakeholders, directed that the IOCs should within seven days allow the stevedoring companies access to their platforms to commence operations, which by extension will enable the registered dockworkers along with the appointed stevedoring companies to operate in the IOCs platforms.

“It is inconceivable that up till now the IOCs have bluntly refused the appointed Stevedoring Companies to commence operations and has thus deprived our members (dockworkers) in the employ of the stevedoring companies to work and earn a living. This is a sharp contravention of the provisions of Government Marine Notice 106 of 2014,” part of the letter read.

“In view of the foregoing, the government is hereby placed on notice to the effect that the Union would embark on an indefinite strike in all the nation’s seaports with effect from Tuesday, March 1, 2022, if before then the IOCs are not compelled by the appropriate authorities to comply with the directive in this regard,” the union said.

Adedapo Adesanya

Adedapo Adesanya is a journalist, polymath, and connoisseur of everything art. When he is not writing, he has his nose buried in one of the many books or articles he has bookmarked or simply listening to good music with a bottle of beer or wine. He supports the greatest club in the world, Manchester United F.C.

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