…Begs MWUN to Call-off Strike Action
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council, Hon Emmanuel Jime has disclosed that APM Terminals, Apapa is losing $20,000 daily to every vessel calling at the terminal, following the dockworkers strike embarked upon at the terminal on Wednesday.
Jime stated this on Thursday when he visited the headquarters of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Olodo Apapa Lagos on Thursday.
Jime appealed to the union to call of the 3-days warning strike on account of his intervention, even as he assured that he was going to press on the APM terminal to agree with the Union’s demands.
MWUN President General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju had informed that the union was embarking on the strike action due to the insensitivity of the terminal operator to the plight of it’s workers, and their refusal to improve upon their salaries and welfare, despite several meetings and dialogue.
Speaking, the Shippers Council boss after listening to barrage of complaints by the union members expressed shock at the fact that APM Terminal was engaging foreigners to carry out jobs belonging to Nigerians inside the terminal.
Speaking, he said “I am particularly sad with the information I received today that foreigners are being brought to do jobs that Nigerians can do, there is really no excuse for that, we are going to step in, and it falls under our purview to insist. If you sign a concession agreement and there are laws, the job of the Shippers Council is to make sure that everybody keeps to the wording of that concession agreement.
“So, definitely, if you defaulted, then there is a sanction mechanism that can be used, and I want to assure you that once we get to that point where it is glare to us that somebody is willfully breaking the rules of this country, then sanctions must apply.
“It is our desire to do everything that would not cripple the nation’s economy. I would like you to give me more time to have discussions with APMT over this issue, I know you have had discussions with them, I know they have not agreed, but please give me one more benefit of doubt.
“I want to assure you that we would let everybody know that, what is happening to our workers at APMT cannot be tolerated, I have that special platform to make the advocacy on your behalf. I want to walk out of here with a commitment that at least, we can suspend the downing of tools in the honor of my coming to visit you”
Speaking further, Hon Jime stated that “This strike is creating an economic impact that is creating loss on both sides of the table, the terminal operators are losing $20,000 per day for as long as this strike continues.
“This is the irony, what the workers are asking for, if you compare it to the loss that is being incured, you can do the maths. To be frank with you, a strike action should be the last resort”
Responding to the plea by the Shippers Council boss, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said the union would consider the appeal by consulting it’s relevant organs including it’s Central Working Committee (CWC) National Executive Council (NEC) and other organs that are superior powers of the union.
Adeyanju expressed dissatisfaction at the poor treatment given to dockworkers by management of APMT Terminal, which according to him is not done by other terminals.
“The other terminal operators take care of their workers welfare even without the union intervention, why must it be APM Terminal giving us problems? Are they bigger than Nigeria? This is the country that gave you this job, but now, you are telling the owners of the job that they don’t know what they are doing”
According to him, the union has sat down and held negotiation meetings with APM Terminal for seven times to improve on welfare packages and remuneration of workers, but the terminal was adamant.