Maritime workers may shut down ports operations today

Tony-Emmanuel-NtedBarring any last minute changes, Port workers under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, may down tools today over alleged unpaid wage arrears running into several months.

Mostly affected aredockworkers, especially tally clerks and on board security gangway men. According to the President-General of the union,  Tony Emmanuel Nted the latest agreement reached with stakeholders including Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, and Association of Stevedoring Companies, ASC, on July 9, 2015, at a meeting called by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity, expired since July 30, without any payment to the affected workers.

Nted alleged that the management of NPA is responsible for the delay and refusal to pay the affected workers and asked government, shipping companies, terminal operators and others to hold NPA responsible for the planned shut down of the Ports.

He lamented that the union had no other explanation to give the aggrieved workers, saying the leadership of the union had placed all its leaders across the ports formations on the alert for a declaration of an indefinite industrial strike.

As we speak, the month ended about five days ago, our members have not been paid and they have been suffering, while the money meant for the payment of their wages has been diverted to fund illegal organisation.

We had thought the last agreement would settle this issue, but it appears that the management of NPA does not want peace. We understand that NPA has refused to honour the agreement and endorse the payment.

So, we have asked our officials across the country to mobilise members and shut from today, ” Nted said.  Recalling the July 9, agreement, he said “after an exhaustive deliberation on the  demand for immediate payment of wage arrears to Tally Clerks and on Board security Gangway Men and stoppage of Use of Cargo Surveyors in the nation’s seaports by MWUN, it was resolved that the Tally Clerks and On- Board Security Gangway Men should be paid arrears of their salaries and wages, and that the Federal Ministry of Transport should on or before  July 13, 2015 direct in writing, in furtherance with the letter Reference No. T.160/S160/T.214 dated June 4, 2015, the Nigeria Ports Authority to pay the arrears of salaries due the Tally Clerks and ON- Board Security Gangway Men and that Nigerian Ports Authority on receiving the letter should meet with the Stevedores and the MWUN to work out modalities for the commencement of the payment before July 30, 2015.”

He however alleged that the agreement has not be respected by NBA,  adding that,  the union had no other choice but to start mobilising members for industrial action to force NPA and others to do the needful and end the hardships being faced by the workers.   “The workers have not been able to meet their responsibilities to their dependants. In fact, most of them have turned to beggars, ” Nted alleged.

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