The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has issued the Federal Government a 14- day ultimatum to prevail on International Oil Companies (IOC) operating in the country to pay dockworkers entitlements or else the union would withdraw its services.
In a letter addressed the the permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation signed by the President General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju and its General Secretary, Mr Felix Akingboye, a copy of which was sent to DAILY TREND yesterday, the union lamented that its members were dying untimely because they are not getting paid.
It says that stevedoring contractors appointed by the Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) where not being paid their stevedoring charges by the oil companies.
According to the union, “On the 1st of June, 2018, the Management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) on the directive of the Hon. Minister of Transportation appointed some Stevedoring Contractors to provide Stevedoring services at various off shore, on shore and jetties of International Oil Companies and other operators”
“The Management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), in its quest to ensure seamless operational activities held several meetings with these IOCs and other Operators stressing the need to give maximum corporation to the appointed stevedores by processing their invoices and effect immediate payment of same as it was the practise”
“Unfortunately however, most of these operators, especially the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have blatantly refused to abide with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Managements directive”
“The Stevedore invoices have not been processed, let alone paid and the Dockworkers invariably owed several months salaries and wages, which has led to the untimely death of some of them (Dockworkers) as a result of their inability to attend to their health needs”
“We can no longer allow this situation to continue, hence we are giving the Permanent Secretary two (2) weeks to prevail on the Management of the lOCs to process and pay all outstanding bills to the Government appointed stevedoring contractors so that Dockworkers can be paid their salaries and wages to avoid further untimely death of our members”
“Failure of which we shall be forced to withdraw our services in all the Nation’s Sea Ports” it said.
The union commended the Managing Director of NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman for efforts made to compel the IOCs to engage the services of appointed stevedores and registered dockworkers in their stevedoring operations.
It however said it was unfortunate that the operators have refused to comply with the NPA directive after one year that the stevedoring contractors were appointed.
“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?
“In fact, at a stakeholders meeting held on February 28th, 2018, organised by NPA to sensitize the 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 port, jetties and oil platforms.
“The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria 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 dock workers 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.