By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has issued a scorecard on terminal operators and how Nigerian port workers are being treated in terms of their remuneration and incentives in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic ravaging the world.
The union lamented that some terminal operators do not have the love of the workers at heart, despite that fact that they risk their lives coming to the port daily to ensure that Nigeria economy is not shut down.
Speaking with journalists in his office on Tuesday, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju Adeyanju specifically commended APM Terminals for handling its workers welfare with utmost concern.
Other terminals so commended by the union are; Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) and the Port and Terminal Multiservices Limited (PTML)
The number one maritime unionist told journalists that these terminal operators have lodged their workers at top notch hotels in Apapa and given them incentives to cushion the effect of the lockdown.
He also commended the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Hadiza Bala Usman for her love towards NPA staff.
According to him, the workers salaries for the month of April have already been paid as at 16th of April.
Hadiza has equally released all NPA buses for the workers to access the port and not to face any hazards.
Speaking he said “APM Terminals, ABTL lodged their workers at hotels in Apapa and they mobilised the workers with incentives that is far better than what we expected”
“APMT needs to be commended because the way and manner they take care of their workers is excellent, I can tell you that they were the first to lodge their workers at big hotels very close to the port. Not only that, they gave the workers incentives, and they give them food three times in a day, they need to be commended”
“When someone is doing well, they need to be commended”
“PTML equally did the same thing by way of lodging some of their staff from the shipping branch in an hotel, they also gave them something to cushion the effect of the pandemic”
“Terminal operators should have the respect of the workers they engage in their hearts, this is a trying period all over the world, nobody prays for this kind of decease (COVID-19) to come, but then it has come, and we need to manage it cautiously, the welfare of the workers in the port is very important” he said
Comrade Adeyanju said that some terminal operators are playing on the intelligence of the workforce under them.
He said the money they were supposed to give to the workers was not released, and the workers were sleeping inside the port hoping that the money is coming.
Though he chose to protect the terminals identity by not mentioning their names, he however warned that if the terminal operators continue with their non chalant attitude towards workers welfare, the union would be forced to withdraw the services of its members from these terminals.
“Workers are risking their lives to come to the port, some of the terminal operators do not have buses, it was NPA and Nigerian Shippers Council that rolled out all these buses you are seeing on the road, so they need to be commended”
“Some of the terminal operators do not have toilets, some that have it, there is no running water there, when we visited one of the terminals and one of my officials was pressed, he ran away when he saw the toilet, it was terrible”
“They do not equally have cloak room where workers can change their cloths”
“Terminal operators in Nigeria have the best workers under them, Nigerian port workers are responsible people, so they should not be treated like animals, they should be treated like responsible human beings working for the government”
Comrade Adeyanju said that the executive management of the union have been going round daily to monitor activities at the port and to make sure Coronavirus does not enter into Nigerian ports through negligence.
On the part of the union sensitizing its members against spread of COVID-19, he said the awareness is now 70% in the mind of the workers, as some of them now have hand sanitizers, and kit themselves with nose masks.
He assured that the union would keep enlightening the workers to ensure that vessels are quarantined and certified okay by port health before they go onboard, he said they are all aware of the social distancing rule.
He also informed that at Port Harcourt, Calabar and Onne Ports, the union has intensified its campaign and monitoring of the manning agents to ensure adequate care is given to the seafarers.
He said the level of compliance there is also very high.
“At Port Harcourt, Calabar and Onne, the awareness is already there, whatever is done here are transmitted to the coordinators over there” he said