29 September 2015, Lagos – The Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria, MWUN, weekend, gave the management of Nigeria Ports Authority, NPA, Friday deadline to pay over eight months unpaid wages to dockworkers or the nation’s ports would be shut from Monday.
This came after the quick intervention of the leadership of MWUN aborted a wild cat, (unplanned) strike that would have shut the ports from yesterday, over the unpaid wages.
The union, therefore, directed all its officials at all the ports formations across the country to ensure that workers maintained peace and mobilise for an indefinite strike from Monday if NPA failed to approve and complete payment by October 2.
It was gathered that aggrieved workers had planned to shut ports across the country over alleged refusal by NPA to pay no fewer than 3,000 Tally Clerks and On Board Security men despite several agreements among stakeholders including both the Ministries of Transport and Labour and Productivity.
The latest of such agreement was signed in July, at a meeting in Abuja, called by the Federal Government through the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity.
The meeting was attended by officials of Ministry of Transport, NPA among other stakeholders where it was agreed that the workers should be paid before the end of August.
Since the last agreement, the management of NPA had been accused of foot dragging over the payment as the new Managing Director, was said to have insisted that he would not approve payment since the agreement was reached before he was appointed Managing Director.
Vanguard gathered that the aggrieved workers had decided to resort to self-help after complaining that they were no longer sure if their leaders had not compromised, because their leaders had been promising since July that the money would be paid but the money has not been paid.
However, at a meeting with all the leaders of the workers including unit officials in Lagos on Sunday, the President General of the union, Mr. Anthony Emmanuel Nted, pleaded with the workers to give the NPA up till Friday, and if the payment was not made, they should commence an indefinite strike by Monday.
Addressing the union’s officials Nted, said since September 24, he had been to Warri, Port Harcourt and Calabar, trying to plead with the workers to give the NPA up till this Friday.
According to him, “I in particular, was called several names and the most painful part is that, I was told to my face in one of the meetings by workers in Calabar that they had begun to doubt if we had not compromised. One even asked me if I am sure that we are not promising payment to buy time. So, please, prevail on your workers to still exercise patience till this Friday, if the wage are not paid, with our backing, the ports wil be shut from Monday October 5, and it would remain shut nationwide until all the wages are paid.”