NLC writes Amaechi, backs strike over IOCs’ refusal to engage dockworkers

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The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) has written to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, intimating him of a looming strike that would paralyse the maritime sector over the refusal of International Oil Companies (IOCs) to engage Nigerian dockworkers through registered stevedoring companies as required by law.

In the letter dated March 3, 2022, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, stated that one of its affiliates, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has been in a running battle with the IOCs over refusal to comply with Marine Notice 106, mandating the IOCs and others to allow the stevedoring companies and registered dockworkers access to their platforms to commence operations as required by law.

“We write to seek the firm intervention of the Minister to prevent the shutdown of all maritime operations in Nigeria any moment from now as the union is poised to take action at the expiration of the two weeks’ timeline. Any action undertaken by our affiliate union – Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria – at the expiration of the two weeks ultimatum will receive the full backing and solidarity support from the Nigeria Labour Congress,” NLC stated. 

MWUN has accused the IOCs of breaching the laws in Nigeria especially the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NlMASA) Act 2007, and a Marine Notice No. 106 of 2014 issued by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA). 

The Marine Notice mandated all companies and persons engaged in stevedoring work including docklabour employers and private operators of any work location including ports, jetties, onshore or offshore oil and gas platforms, bonded terminals, inland container depots, offdock terminals, and dry ports to engage stevedoring workers and companies to carry out the operations on their platforms and premises.

According to NLC, the government Marine Notice 106 is also in tandem with Article 3 (2) of International Labour Organization (ILO) dockwork Convention 137 which Nigeria ratified on the 22nd of March 2004. 

“Unfortunately, while other operators in the sector have allowed registered stevedoring companies and dockworkers access to their platforms and premises in compliance with the Marine Notice 106, IOCs have been in willful disobedience to the directives contained in government Marine Notice 106.

“Sadly, till now, International Oil Companies have arrogantly and with grand impunity disregarded the Minister’s directives,” NLC further stated.  

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