From Suleiman Idris, Lagos with agency report
Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), on Wednesday made good its threat to shut the nation’s ports operations over lingering disputes with government.
Some of the grievances of the union are unpaid wages and other issues affecting the Tally Clerks/On-board Security, minimum standard for Dockworkers and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) staff welfare matters among others.
It was gathered that as early as 7 am, workers were withdrawn from their duty posts across the port formations in Lagos, Warri, Port Harcourt’s, Calabar and Onne, effectively crippling all operations nationwide.
Both Presidents of dockworkers and NPA branches of MWUN, Mr. Adewale Adeyanju and Adeleke Sanni, respectively, addressed the workers at both Apapa and Tin Can Ports and assured them that the issues would be fought to a logical conclusion.
Lamenting the loss incurred as a result of the strike, President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents, ANLCA, Alhaji Shittu Olayiwola said when members of the MWUN were on strike, the agents would not be able to work.
According to Shittu, “agents cannot work because the dockworkers are needed to do examination on containers just as stevedores are also needed for vessels to discharge.
Shittu called on the management of NPA to rise up to the occasion and resolve the matter for industrial peace of the industry, saying “for every day that the ports are shut, both the Federal Government and other port operators lose not less than N10billion. It is not just members of the freight forwarding groups; everybody is affected whenever there is a strike of this magnitude.”
Recall that the union had weekend notified NPA, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and the Terminal Operators on the looming industrial unrest at all ports formations nationwide.
The union had lamented that in spite several ultimatums and agreements, the government had failed to address the plight of the tally clerks/on-board security despite their importance to ports operations and national security.
In a letter to NPA by the union, dated December 12 and signed by Mr. Edwin Sambo, Deputy Secretary General (Admin), titled: “notice to shut down the seaports”, the union wrote “Please be informed that the Union will be forced to close down the Nations’ Sea ports if the under listed issues which are affecting our members are not addressed before Monday, December 15, 2014- Tally Clerks/On-board Security, minimum standard for Dockworkers and NPA staff welfare matters.