Dockworkers threaten to ground port operation

Dockworkers under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) in Port Harcourt on Tuesday protested against alleged inability of their employer to honour their welfare agreement.
They issued a two- week ultimatum to their employer to implement the agreement, which they said was signed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).
The protesters, who blocked the popular Njenmaze Street leading to Abonnema Wharf, accused NPA and NIMASA of neglecting them by failing to implement the agreement they signed.
They said it was sad that NIMASA was collaborating with their employer to frustrate them. Mr. Godstime Atulegu, who led the protesters, said there was an agreement to set up minimum standards for the dockworkers, which were agreed upon.

He said: “We agreed that the minimum gross wage for any employed dockworkers shall be N33, 000. That an increase of 10 per cent shall be added to all general/bulk cargo. We also told them that the unit payment per laden for 20-40 containers shall be N1, 000.
“We agreed that the employer shall contribute in favour of each dockworker on their payroll, 7.5 per cent of workers’ monthly emolument as pension fund contribution toward the employee’s retirement. We reached many agreements with them, but they have abandoned us to suffer.”
“There is no going back on the plan to shut down the seaport if by the expiration of the ultimatum, nothing happens. We urge President Goodluck Jonathan to intervene.”
Contacted on the phone, the General Manager, Nigeria Ports Authority, Port Harcourt branch, Mr. Sunny Nwobe, said he was out of the country and not aware of the protest.

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