Dockworkers threaten to down tools over IOCs debts

Posted by Eugene Agha, Lagos | 14 June 2019 | 1,448 times

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The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), yesterday, threatened to withdraw its services from jetties belonging to International Oil Companies (IOCs) over non-payment of wages and salaries of its members.

To this end it has issued a 14-day notice to the management of the oil firms to commence payment failure of which it will commence an industrial action which might affect the supply of petroleum products across the country.

A statement jointly signed by the President General of MWUN, Abdulwaheed Adewale Adeyanju, and Secretary-General Felix Akingboye, said the IOCs had defaulted in the contract between them and the management of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).

It said: “Dear stakeholders, 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 IOCs operating in Nigeria.

“We are aware that on 1st June, 2018, the NPA appointed stevedoring contractors to provide stevedoring services at various off-shore, jetties and on-shore locations to the international oil services and other operators.  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 NPA 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 28, 2018 organised by the NPA in Lagos, to sensitise stakeholders, i.e IOCs, jetty owners and terminal owners, the NPA management made it clear that in line with Section 27 of the 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 the 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,” the statement said.

The union also said: “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 IOCs to pay all outstanding bills to our members, failure of which we will be compelled to withdraw our services.” (Daily Trust)

Source: News Express

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