By Richards Adeniyi
The Federal Government has given International Oil Companies (IOCs) a two-week ultimatum to pay all outstanding debt owed dockworkers employed by stevedoring contractors appointed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA).
The President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, who disclosed this in an exclusive chat with Maritime journalists in Lagos recently, said the directive was issued at a meeting convened by the Federal Ministry of Transportation with the IOCs and industry stakeholders in Abuja.
He said, “A resolution has been reached on the issue of IOCs. From the meeting we held last week, the IOCs have been given two weeks beginning from Wednesday when we had the meeting. Since then, their level of compliance has reached 30 percent. They have started allowing the stevedoring contractors to register with them and I believe within two weeks, something reasonable will come out.”
Adeyanju said with the level of compliance of the IOCs, he is optimistic that the union’s demands to engage the services of NPA-appointed stevedores and registered dockworkers in their stevedoring operations would be addressed.
He however warned that the union would not fail to resume its suspended strike action if the IOCs renege on the ultimatum.
“We only suspended our strike. If anybody plays against the resolution that all of us have agreed upon with the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the person will be held responsible. But with the level of compliance, I think we are satisfied with what we have heard so far,” he said.
Adeyanju who expressed delight that the meeting yielded positive outcome, commended the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Hadiza Bala Usman and the President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba for their intervention and efforts in compelling the IOCs accede to MWUN’s demands.
“I think we have been able to get what we are bargaining for, that is, for the IOCs to recognise the stevedoring contractors and at the same time allow the dockworkers to work in the jetties,” Adeyanju added.
It would be recalled that the Federal Ministry of Transportation summoned a reconciliatory meeting with the IOCs and MWUN following a three-day warning strike embarked upon by the union to protest the non-payment of dockworkers’ wages by the oil majors.