The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has notified several Federal authorities of a possible 14-day strike if International Oil Companies (IOCs) continue to deny stevedoring companies and registered dockworkers access to their platforms for lawful operations.
In letters dated 14 February 2022 and addressed to the Minister of Transportation, the Minister of Labour and Employment, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Director-General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), the Executive Secretary of Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), and the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), MWUN threatened to shut ports operations nationwide from March 1, 2022 until the IOCs complied with their demands covered by the Extant Stevedoring Regulations known as Government Marine Notice 106 of 2014.
The letters were signed by the President-General of MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, and the Secretary-General, Mr. Felix Akingboye.
According to the MWU letter, “It will be recalled that the Minister of Transportation at a meeting held on Wednesday, June 30, 2021, with the IOCs, representatives of NPA, NIMASA, MWUN, Stevedoring Companies and other stakeholders, directed that the IOCs should within seven days allow the Stevedoring Companies access to their platforms to commence operations, which by extension will enable the registered Dockworkers along with the appointed stevedoring companies to operate in the IOCs platforms.
“It is inconceivable that up till now the IOCs have bluntly refused the appointed Stevedoring Companies to commence operations and has thus deprived our members (Dockworkers) in the employ of the Stevedoring Companies to work and earn a living. This is a sharp contravention of the provisions of Government Marine Notice 106 of 2014.
“The Government Marine Notice 106 applies to all companies and persons engaged in Stevedoring work, including Dock Labour Employers and Private Operators of any work location including Ports, Jetties, Onshore or Offshore Oil and Gas or Bonded Terminals, Inland Container Depots (ICDS), off Dock Terminal, Dry Ports and Platforms
“Paragraph 3 of the referred Government Marine Notice stipulates that: “All operators of Ports, Jetties, Onshore or Offshore, Oil and Gas or Bonded Terminals, Inland Container Depots (ICDs), Offshore Dock Terminals, Dry Ports and Platforms and other work locations are hereby given the notice to grant duly appointed Stevedoring Companies access to their premises to commence operations. It is regretted to report that the IOCs have refused to comply with said Government Marine Notice 106, since 2014 when it was issued.
“Recall that the union had protested this unjust depredation meted out to our members by the IOCs. In 2019, the Union was compelled to embark on a three-day warning strike at the expiration of a 21-day notice which was later suspended on the intervention of the Minister of Transportation.
“Also, on April 9, 2021, a 7-day notice was given vide a Press Release of April 9, 2021, which was further extended by another Seven days on the intervention of the NPA’s management that pleaded to be given time to prevail on the almighty IOCs to comply with the law. Regrettably, the NPA management’s intervention did not yield any positive result as the IOCs remained recalcitrant.
“In view of the foregoing, the government is hereby placed on notice to the effect that the Union would embark on an indefinite strike in all the nation’s seaports with effect from Tuesday, 1st March 2022, if before then the IOCs are not compelled by the appropriate authorities to comply with the directive in this regard.”