Maritime workers to down tools over unpaid wages

Dock workers on Monday threatened to withdraw their services at the nation’s ports if their eight months salary arrears were not paid.

The workers under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) said that they had issued a two-week ultimatum to the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) to pay the salary arrears.

The President of MWUN, Mr Anthony Nted, who addressed newsmen in Lagos on the issue, said that an ultimatum issued on July 3 would expire on July 20.

Nted argued that tally clerks and onboard security men were duly registered by law and were paid by the NPA through the stevedoring contractors.

He said that the contractors started owing salaries after the NPA created another body known as Cargo Surveyors, to carry out jobs at the ports.

“ Payment of dockworkers salaries in the past was done promptly until some officials of the NPA created the cargo surveyors to take over the jobs of tally clerks and onboard security men,” he alleged.

The union president said that they were aggrieved because the NPA management paid cargo surveyors millions of naira while the dockworkers doing the jobs were neglected.

He said that the union had held meetings with the NPA management, Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity and the Federal Ministry of Transport on the issue and that a Memorandum of Understanding was reached.

Nted said that the NPA management failed to keep the agreement and had not paid the workers.

“The NPA management told us to wait that they had exhausted their budget. Later they claimed that stevedoring contractors do not have documents to show that dockworkers received salary.

“We threatened to go to court to show that the workers were being paid with documents before now.

“However, we have decided to stop all port operations if the workers are not paid after the ultimatum expires,” Nted said.

He called for repair of all access roads to seaports across the country to ensure effective business operations.

The unionist said that potholes on seaport-access-roads were slowing down business, increasing accidents and robbery attacks.

He also said that tankers and trailers parked permanently along the access roads to the seaports should be removed.

Copyright Ships & Ports Ltd. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit given to as the source.