Maritime workers threaten to shut down ports
Workers under the aegis of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) on Wednesday threatened to shut down all the seaports across the country if management of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) fails to meet their demand on improved welfare package.
The union has given the Federal Government and NPA a 14-day ultimatum to address the issues raised by the union, just as it called for the intervention of the National Assembly.
Anthony Nted, MWUN president-general, in a chat with newsmen in Abuja explained that the union had written the NPA board and management, and permanent secretary of Ministry of Transport over its decision. He explained that the union is also seeking the intervention of the National Assembly in order to address the situation before embarking on the strike action.
Nted, who accused NPA management of playing hide and seek game over issues raised by the workers, urged Nigerians to hold NPA responsible for the disruption of business activities at the ports. ?At the union leadership level, we have done everything to maintain peace in the industry. There are lots of expectations from our members and we discovered that there are few demands that need urgent attention in the area of payment of our tally clerks and on board security men who have not been paid their minimum standard for the past two years.
?We also talked about end of the year bonus, up till now, the NPA workers are yet to get their end of the year bonus. This has never happened before and the workers are agitated, they want to take laws into their hands. We don"t know why NPA did not want to pay this money; it can"t be because they don"t have money. The union leadership has been the one placating the workers, but it"s like we can no longer tolerate the indifference of the NPA management to the legitimate demands of the people.
?The information we gathered is that board has not met since last year November, I don"t know why. We also talked about new conditions of service for NPA workers and gratuity for retired workers and severance package for disengaged dockworkers. We thought that those who left the service since would have been paid by now, some of them have so many things to do with their entitlements.
?We have therefore given 14-day ultimatum to enable NPA to act or else we will shut down the ports. What we are doing today is to call the attention of the government to this. The problem lies in the hands of the NPA, let them implement all the agreements. The attitude of NPA is worrisome, we can"t understand them, they keep saying the board has not met; why should our welfare be subjected to the vagaries of NPA management, what if the board won"t sit till next year, what happens??