Despite the earlier announced nationwide industrial action across all nation’s seaports by the aggrieved members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), business activities have, and will continue to take place without any interruption, pending when all the issues raised by the workers would be resolved, BusinessDay learns.
In a telephone interview after the meeting with the Union, Adam Jatto, general manager, corporate and strategic communication of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), said the workers had not embarked on full strike, but only want to make their grievances known to both the government and their employers.
According to Jatto, the ports have been opened since Wednesday morning, and businesses have been taking place as importers and their agents have been taking delivery of their consignments without disturbance while available ships have been berthing without interruption.
Jatto, who disclosed that the ports have not been closed down and activities have been ongoing because the announced strike action is not a full flesh one, said the Wednesday meeting with the Union, which ended in deadlock, is an ongoing thing.
“We believed that the grievances would be resolved as soon as possible. However, port operations would continue while we keep talking till we reach a common understanding. But we believed the issues raised would be addressed before the end of it all,” he assured.
Meanwhile, the Union has vowed to continue with the earlier announced nationwide strike, as the NPA on Wednesday was not able to wade into all the issues and grievances of the workers.
The Union however confirmed that the NPA, which appoints stevedoring contractors to provide services at various offshore, jetties and onshore locations to the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other operators, is yet to reach agreement with the parties involved.
“The strike still continues as we were not able to reach agreement with the NPA on Wednesday but the NPA promised to invite the executives of the Union to continue discussions with them and the IOCs on Thursday,” said Adeyanju Adewale, president general of MWUN in a telephone interview with BusinessDay.
Recall that on the 14 June 2019, the union issued a 14- day ultimatum to the Federal Government to prevail on International Oil Companies (IOCs) to pay stevedoring contractors appointed by the NPA, the charges due to dockworkers at the nation’s ports.
They alleged the IOCs has refused to grant access to the stevedoring contractors, process their invoices and effect payment as directed by the NPA, one year after the stevedoring contractors were appointed.
It was based on this that the union announced a nationwide indefinite strike that started on Wednesday 3 July 2019.