Piqued by the International Oil Companies (IOCs) blatant refusal to obey the nation’s laws, members of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) yesterday threatened to shut down seaports across the country.
In a letter addressed to the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, the union threatened to embark on an indefinite strike, effective March 1, 2022, over the IOCs non-compliance with the extant stevedoring regulations, otherwise known as Government Marine Notice 106 of 2014.
The union alleged that the IOCs had ignored the minister’s directives and other top stakeholders, including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), that they should allow stevedoring companies access to their platforms to commence operations.
The union said the directive issued last year, was supposed to enable the registered dockworkers, along with the appointed and deployed stevedoring companies, to operate in the IOCs platforms.
However, it said up till now, the IOCs have bluntly refused the appointed and deployed stevedoring companies to commence operations and has thus deprived its members (dockworkers) in the employ of the stevedoring companies to work and earn a living.
According to MWUN, the action of the IOCs is a sharp contravention of the provisions of Government Marine Notice 106 of 2014.
The union said despite previous notices, strike warnings and intervention by the NPA to prevail on the IOCs to comply with the law, it has not yielded any positive result as they have remained recalcitrant.
In view of the foregoing, the union said the government is hereby placed on notice to the effect that it would embark on indefinite strike action in all the nation’s seaports with effect from Tuesday, 1st March 2022 if before then the IOCs are not compelled by the appropriate authority to comply with the directive in this regard.
The union, however, said it wishes to take an exemption to whatever actions may follow in the event that the IOCs remain adamant at the expiration of the notice.
According to the union, Government Marine Notice 106 applies to all companies and persons engaged in stevedoring work, including dock labour employer and private operators of any work location, including ports, jetties, onshore or offshore oil and gas or bonded terminals, Inland Container Depots (ICDS), off-dock terminal, dry ports and platforms.