By DAPO OLAWUNI
Two years after terminal operators in Nigeria attempted to increase their handling charges by 50% but were stopped by the Nigerian Shippers Council, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) is championing a fresh move to get the charges increased.
The union in a press statement on Friday said it is supporting hike in terminal operators tariff, so that the terminals can fulfill their commitments to the dockworkers who are MWUN members.
In the statement by Comrade John Kennedy Ikemefuna, head of media of MWUN, the union urged the Nigerian Shippers Council to accede to the demand of the terminal operators to increase their charges, even as it threatened that failure to do so might result in industrial action.
“Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) wish to inform the general public and other relevant agencies, particularly the Nigerian Shippers’ Council of the recent call/proposal made by PTML and other terminals to the management of the Nigerian Shippers’ Council to request for an increment in the vehicle/car tariffs which according to them has not been reviewed for over a decade.
“PTML and other terminals operators under the umbrella of the Seaports Terminals Operators (STOAN) has over the years borne the burden of wages, salaries, and allowances; with management of Dockworkers as in saner economic climes, which unfortunately they cannot further shoulder due to general inflation rate, deteriorating economic condition; increasing operational/administrative costs; high rate of exchange value and other such economic factors.
“Consequent to the above, PTML and other terminals operators have indicated their inability to meet with the provisions of the minimum standard of Dock labour, which they recently negotiated and signed for implementation as was supervised by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and NIMASA; unfortunately, the prevailing situation in the nation’s economy had directly hampered their capacity to implement the subsisting NJIC agreement.
“As a result of the above and the inability of management to meet its obligations, and Dockworkers expectations, there’s now rising tension amongst the rank and file of our Dockworkers members in all the terminals, ports, jetties, and all oil and gas platforms.
“We, therefore, call on the management of NSC to give kind consideration to the proposal of PTML and other terminals operators for a review of the vehicle/car tariffs and other freights charges as obtained in ENL, Josep dam, Port and Cargo, and other terminals alike to enable them meet their obligations to our members – Dockworkers to forestall an imminent break down of industrial peace in our nation’s seaports as they are the economic regulators in this sector.