By DAPO OLAWUNI
In order to avoid the mistakes of the past where workers lost their jobs during the 2006 port concession in Nigeria, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has demanded for a signed agreement and communique with MSC Shipping over its recent take over of TICT Terminal at Tin Can Port of Lagos.
Speaking with journalists after a closed door meeting with management of TICT Terminal and Bolore Logistics, both owned by MSC Shipping, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said the union does not trust the empty assurances of the MSC Nigeria over job security for dockworkers.
According to him, the dockworkers at TICT became apprehensive three weeks ago when the name of the terminal suddenly changed overnight without carrying the union along.
“The townhall meeting of today is a tripartite one to sensitize the workers, they suddenly saw that the name of the terminal changed overnight without us being carried along, we don’t even know the buyers.
“We have written to MSC France, for us to know what they have for the workers, it’s not just to say they are changing name, anything can happen, from there they could change their management, and from there, it would affect the workers.
“There is going to be a communique between the union and the management of the terminal.
The managing Director of TICT and Managing Director of Bolore are the ones representing MSC Shipping, but we have said No, the parent body in France should give us assurances.
“None of the workers would lose their jobs, we have assured them of that, the workers CBA still stands, the condition of service still remain and this is what will form the communique with the company, anyone that renege, we can now react.
“The communique is yet to be drafted, both sides would sign it, they have given us Tuesday and Wednesday for them to prepare their draft.
“There is no way the workers can trust their employers completely, they would always use their mouth to say sweet words, we all know what happened during Port concession when we were told that nobody would lose their jobs, this has taught us a big lesson.
“This is why we are demanding a communique coming from both sides so that nobody would deceive the Nigerian workers at TICT, we won’t allow them play on our intelligence.
“We have written MSC France for clarification, we must know them, MSC Nigeria cannot take responsibility of the global body” Comrade Adeyanju stated
Recall that the workers had demanded to be paid off for the work they have done so far before being transferred to a new management owned by MSC Shipping.
Adeyanju however cautioned that, “If they paid everyone off now, there is no tendency that the workers would be reemployed, we know what happened at NPA, when they were assuring us that nobody would lost their jobs, but at the end of the day, the terminal operators shut their gates against the dockworkers, we are living witnesses and we know what we passed through.
“So,with this,we want a concrete assurances and evidence duly signed by both parties. If it warrants that the workers should be paid off, then so be it.
We need to guide the workers because of past experiences” he said