Contrary to their earlier refusal to pay the outstanding debt to dockworkers employed by stevedoring contractors appointed by the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the International Oil Companies (IOCs) have started complying with the Federal Government’s two-week ultimatum, effect from Wednesday, July 31, on the matter.
The government directive was part of the resolutions at the meeting convened in Abuja by the Federal Ministry of Transportation and attended by the IOCs and industry stakeholders in their efforts to address the lingering issue and end the consequent industrial actions.
One week into the ultimatum, President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, disclosed that since that meeting, the IOCs’ “level of compliance has reached 30 per cent. They have started allowing the stevedoring contractors to register with them and I believe within two weeks something reasonable will come out of it.”
And while expressing hope that the union’s demands that the IOCs engage the services of NPA-appointed stevedores and registered dockworkers in their stevedoring operations would be addressed, in view of the compliance level so far, he warned that MWUN would resume its suspended industrial action should the IOCs renege on the ultimatum.
“We only suspended our strike,” he noted. “If anybody plays against the resolution that all of us have agreed upon with the Permanent Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transportation, the person will be held responsible, but with the level of compliance, I think we are satisfied with what we have heard so far.”
Meanwhile, the union leader commended the NPA Managing Director, Hadiza Bala Usman, and President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, for their intervention and efforts at compelling the IOCs to recognise the stevedoring contractors and allow the dockworkers to work in the jetties.