By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has challenged the sack of one of its members at the Tin Can Island Port by Josepdam Terminal, even as the union asked the terminal operator to reinstall the worker with immediate effect.
The union has equally announced the release of 20 of its members who were arrested by the River State Governor, Nyesom Wike for allegedly violating the lockdown order in the state.
President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju made this known at the presentation of N15million cheque by Josepdam Terminal to one of its dockworkers, Mr. Sunday Osunsan who sustained an injury 12 years ago, December 2018, resulting in permanent disability.
Speaking at the cheque presentation at its headquarters in Lagos, Comrade Adeyanju appreciated the terminal operator for fulfilling its promise over the disabled dockworker. He however said his member recently sacked by the terminal operator has to be reinstalled.
“I learnt you have sacked one driver, you have to go and bring him back, you dont sack anybody at this period when everyone is talking about COVID-19, so, that driver needs to be called back” he said
“We thank Josepdam terminal, God will bless the management” he added
The MWUN PG said it was important to celebrate the workers on a good note, and not wait until they sustain permanent disabilities. He urged other terminal operators to take a cue from what Josepdam terminal has done.
“It is a signal to other terminal operators who do not have respect for their employees, they use them as factory workers, dockworkers today are not factory workers, they are recognized by IMO and ILO all over the world, we are affiliateof ITF. They should not see us factory workers, the era of using us as a slave in our father’s land is no longer there” he warned
Presenting the cheque to the beneficiary, Mr. Benson Ojelade, Audit Manager Josepdam Terminal and his counterpart, Acting HR Manager, Mr Josiah Okpegbuo appreciated the leadership of MWUN for their tolerance as the issue lingered, he said most of the workers inherited the case.
Meanwhile, the union has announced the release of 20 of its members who were arrested by the River State Governor, Nyesom Wike for allegedly violating the lockdown order in the state.
He said the asked his members to relax the strike at PTOL and BUA Terminals as a result of interventions from Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Nigerian Shippers Council. He said the strike only affected two Terminals where the 20 arrested dockworkers were working.
“Stakeholders have been calling on us and trying to intervene on this issue for almost three days, most especially the Executive Secretary of Shippers Council, Hassan Bello, the Congress president of NLC our affiliate”
“The commissioner of police in Rivers State called that he needed two of my executives at the outpost, so as I speak with you, they are still with the CP just to let them know what transpired”
“The dockworkers have been released, but were they released unconditionally? They have to drop all the charges against them because they are not criminals, they are responsible workers, the bus that was impounded should also be released to the terminal operators”
“They were given an essential duty pass, signed and authorized by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) which shows that they are legitimate workers with right to work at the port”
“If at the end of today the Governor refuses to release the bus or withdraw all the charges against them, then we can continue with our strike”