*Over non- payment of dockworkers
Lagos — The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, yesterday gave a two-week ultimatum to the International Oil Companies, IOCs, to pay dockworkers engaged at their various terminals their outstanding salaries, threatening to shut down port facilities, if they fail to heed the warning.
They also threatened to withdraw stevedoring services at various off-shore, jetties, and onshore locations to the International Oil services and other operators at the end of the 2-weeks ultimatum.
In a statement signed by the President General of the Union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said that despite several meetings between the IOCs and the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, the IOCs have remained defiant and continue to disobey the laws of the country.
Adeyanju also stated that the operators of these oil terminals have refused to access to government-appointed stevedores to provide stevedoring services.
He said: “We want to use this medium to intimate you, and the Federal Government of the non-payment of the stevedoring wages to Dockworkers by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) operating in Nigeria.
“We are aware that on 1st June 2018, the NPA appointed stevedoring contractors to provide Stevedoring Services It will be necessary to inform you that NPA had held several meetings with these operators to grant access, to the Government appointed stevedoring contractors, process their invoices, and effect payment, but unfortunately, the operators have refused to comply with the NPA directive after one year that the Stevedoring contractors were appointed.
“We commend the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority for the effort NPA Management has made to compel the IOCs to engage the services of appointed stevedores and registered Dockworkers in their stevedoring operations.
“In fact, at a Stakeholders meeting held on February 28th, 2018 organized by the NPA at the Victoria Crown Hotel, Victoria Island, to sensitize Stakeholders i.e IOCs, Jetty Owners, and Terminal Owners, the NPA Management made it clear that in line with section27 of NIMASA Act, 2007 only Government appointed Stevedores and Registered Dockworkers are empowered by law to solely handle discharge and loading operations at the ports, jetties and Oil platforms.
“The position of the operators on to NPA directive is worrisome and very surprising because the same operators had processed and paid the former stevedoring contractors since 2010 through a foremost terminal operator. So, why are they refusing to cooperate with the newly appointed stevedoring contractors since the modus operandi remains the same?
“The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has been monitoring the chain of events on this matter since the last one year, and noted that the implication of the operators defiant attitude amongst others is untimely death of some Dockworkers while awaiting the payment of their wages, because they could not meet their family obligations like payment of house rent, children school fees, and hospital bills, to mention but few.
“We can no longer continue to watch our members die prematurely because of the defiant attitude of the IOCs.
“Consequently, we are constrained to give the Ministry of Transportation that superintends the appointment of stevedores two weeks (14 days) to prevail on the Management of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) to pay all outstanding bills to our members, failure of which we will be compelled to withdraw our services and shut down operations in all the Nations Sea Ports.