By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has said that some labour employers in the maritime industry were planning to cut down on workers salary, wages and annual allowances while attributing it to the effect of Coronavirus pandemic.
In a May Day message by the President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, the union vowed to resist such attempts to punish its members for the Coronavirus lockdown, adding that the situation is not the fault of workers.
Adeyanju said the union has been informed that some management in the port have issued internal memo on the planned pay cut.
He said “We wish to bring to the public space the secret attempt by some management to cheat our members by lording them to convert this lockdown period occasioned by government pronouncement to their annual leave consumed”
“In very clear terms, we condemn this attempt to turn warkers’ rights on its head for the pecuniary gains of management without recourse to normal consideration and processes. We find It strange that workers will be subjected to punishment for a situation that is entirely out of their scope of control”
“This we will resist and resist with all the arsenals at our disposal within the ambit of law. All management considering such gimmick are hereby put on notice”
“Comrades, mast disheartening is the attempt by same unscrupulous management to cut the salaries, wages and allowance of our members without any probable cause”
“On this matter, we stand with the Nigeria Labour Congress who have acknowledged that despite the known fact that workers produce capital, they are always relegated and at the receiving end and state that any move to deduct the salaries, wages, allowances and downsizing of Nigerian workers at this time is illegal and therefore must be resisted” he said
Comrade Adeyanju noted that maritime workers are mostly on the front lines, and that there is need to safeguard their lifes while on essential duty.
On this note, the union called on the Federal Government to equip and direct the relevant agencies on the need to boost sensitisation of her members in the quay apron as well as all other port users and stakeholders.
The union also seek its inclusion in the already set up COVID-19 Ports Committee.
“We suggest that the mandate of the committee be inclusive of the continuous review of preventive measures for the workfoore and monitor all protocols so that all changes are to be implemented with the appmpriate collective bargaining agreements and Labour relations structure”
Adeyanju also urged the federal government and its partners to expedite work on the construction of port access roads, saying that work has since been halted on the project
“I wish to also draw the attention of the management of NlMASA to the urgent need to re-issue biometric identity cards to dockworkers/seafarers, training of dock workers and seafarers, review of minimum standard for the dock labour industry, reduction in prices of seafarers certifications” he said