By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has issued a seven days ultimatum to Rivers State based terminal operator, Ports and Terminal Operators Limited (PTOL) for failing to provide Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) to dockworkers.
In a letter signed by Comrade Louis Agbi, Asst. Secretary General of the union, dated May 6th 2020, the union argued that dockworkers are at the frontlines of the Coronavirus pandemic, working to ensure the economy runs smoothly, hence they deserve the necessary equipment.
According to MWUN, standard PPE’s including provision of Hand gloves, Safety helmets, Face mask, Sanitizers, Overalls, Safety boots, Soap and Water were never given to Dockworkers by PTOL Terminal and that the dockworkers resulted to self help by getting these items by themselves.
The union argued that provision of PPE for Dockworkers is a standard requirement
for terminal operations and not a privilege.
“It is therefore serious unease that we learnt of your non provision of PPE for our members Dockworkers in your terminal despite the fact of your awareness of the exposure they face each time they come to work”
“We view this as gross negligence and indifference to the health as Safety of our members in the face of the ravages of the comma Pendemic. It seems your only interest is economic and capital accumulation”
“As a responsible Union, the health and Safety or our members is of paramount priority and we expect that they are protected at all cost especially in this perilous time”
“Consequent to the foregoing I am directed to put you on notice for Seven (7) days ultimatum starting from the date of letter within which period you are expected to provide our member- Dockworkers PPES, to enable their safety and protection while at work”
“While we strongly urge you to listen to good reason, please note that in the event of your failure to provide PPEs for our members, the Union will have no choice but to withdraw the services of our members from your terminal indefinitely without any recourse to further dialogue” the notice read.