pic1: Comrade Joe Ajaero (middle), in company of Comrade Adewale Adeyanju and other Union Executives.
By Jerry Aguigbo
The Maritime Workers’ Union Of Nigeria
(MWUN) has demanded clarification from Transportation Minister Mu’azu Jaji Sambo on the confusion pervading the Maritime industry over which government agency is in charge of Terminal Operators. This lacuna stems from the complaint of the Hon. Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo that the Nigerian Shippers’ Council was not being carried along by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the issue of renewal of the long expired contracts the terminal operators in the ports.
The Maritime Workers’Union President General Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, who doubles as the Deputy National President Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), made this known today (Friday) during the reception held at the Union’s Headquarters, Osho drive Lagos, for the visiting Nigerian Labour Congress(NLC) National President, Comrde Joe Ajaero. According to the PG, “the issue of multiple Regulatory Agencies is becoming a problem, we want to know, who is in charge of the Terminal Operators. The Minister should tell us, we know of NPA but now he is trying to bring in the Nigerian Shippers’Council (NSC), we are worried about what will befall the workers. Sambo should tell us, what is the fate of the workers,” he queried.
Adeyanju urged the Transportation Minister to ensure he gave clarification on this matter to end the lingering confusion his statement had already created.
While welcoming the NLC President, Prince Adeyanju assured him of MWUN’s
commitment and unwavering support for his administration and the vision of hope his administration brings to the Nigerian working class and allies.
However, the MWUN PG, articulated some of his Union’s pressing challenges before the NLC President as:
International Oil Companies (I0C’s) blatant refusal to obey government Marine Notice 106 of 2014 and Extant Stevedoring regulations;
Refusal to pay aged Seafarers Monthly pension in spite of court ruling.
On the issue of payment of pension to aged Seafarers in compliance with a subsisting court order is one we recommend for your urgent attention and to be prioritized. The issue has lingered for too long in spite of a subsisting court ruling which demands that they be paid pension.
Restoration of registered on-board ship gangway
security and Tally men (Pooling system). ”
Continuing, he said that the presence of on board ship gangway men and tally clerks in port operation is statutory. “This is supported by the dock labour rule of 1967, the National dock labour board established by decree No. 13 of 1979, the Maritime Labour Act, 2003, part ix, this position is further supported by the NIMASA Act, Part Vil = Maritime labour. ”
On this note, MWUN had earlier forwarded a letter dated 5″ August, 2021 to the honourable minister of Transportation to demand for restoration of the Pool system for registered on board gangway security men and tally men which is believed to be receiving attention.
The MWUN PG also spoke on the
need to awaken the dredging of Calabar, Warri and Portrcourt ports.
Adeyanju called on Comrade Ajaero to ensure he looked into the issuance of Seafarers identity documents (S.1.D) to Seafarers.
He pointed out the need to ensure that a minimum standard condition of service is put in place for MWUN members in the shipping sector, as is the practice for The Nigerian Ports Authority, Dock Labour and Seafarers.
Comrade Adeyanju reiterated that the contract of the Terminal Operators has long expired and has not been renewed by the authorities. This, he claims has put the fate of his Union members in a state of uncertainty and unwarranted suffering, even as he sought the intervention of the Nigerian Labour Congress.
Speaking earlier, the NLC President Comrade Joe Ajero spoke glowingly about the glaring transformation that has taken place at MWUN, “I am happy to witness the transformation in this Union, as a Journalist, I reported this Union for a long time and I can attest this marvelous transformation.” He acknowledged that this was only possible because of visionary leadership, even as he thanked the PG for his level of commitment and hard work put in.
On the issue of multiple Regulatory Agencies, Ajaero advised MWUN leadership to quickly write the Minister of Transportation Hon. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo seeking clarification over which agency handles the renewal of Terminal Operators’ contracts without jeopardizing the operation of Union members.
Also speaking on the increment of NPA staff salary which also affected the retirees after much persuasion by the MWUN, Ajaero urged the leadership of the Union to ensure that the NPA is made to sit with the Union to negotiate an appropriate amount commensurate with what they have lost within the 18 years ago, with the loss of 13,000 workers. “However, if they give us money as increment, we will thank them but tell them to sit with you and negotiate. If this is not done they will kill industrial negotiation,” Ajaero said.
Comrade Ajaero thanked Prince Adeyanju for selflessly standing by him and backing him for the NLC presidency.
Ajaero revealed that the NLC is Coming up with a Picketing Committee which Will be mobilised to any Union when there are challenges as consultation is still ongoing.
Responding, Adeyanju thanked the NLC President while also informing that a 2 weeks ultimatum will be served the Transportation Ministry and NPA to spell out which agency is in charge of the Terminal Operators to ensure that workers do not suffer in the process.