Dock­work­ers ac­tion to shut 34 ves­sels out of La­gos ports

The Guardian (Nigeria) - - ASUU/NLC STRIKES - By Su­lai­mon Salau

ABOUT 34 ves­sels ex­pected at sea­ports across the coun­try, par­tic­u­larly in La­gos, may be im­peded by dock­work­ers’ strike.

This was con­tained in the Ship­ping Po­si­tion is­sued yes­ter­day by the Nige­rian Ports Au­thor­ity (NPA).

It re­vealed that many of the ves­sels are con­vey­ing Pre­mium Mo­tor Spirit (PMS) oth­er­wise called petrol, Au­to­mated Gas Oil (AGO) or diesel, and gen­eral cargo goods, as well as sugar and wheat.

The ves­sels, slated to ar­rive La­gos pilotage dis­trict from to­day to the end of the month might be in jeop­ardy, as dock­work­ers have en­dorsed the strike and are ready to shut the ports from busi­ness ac­tiv­i­ties.

How­ever, four ves­sels that are wait­ing to be berthed and eight mo­tor tankers that have al­ready ar­rived the ports might be af­fected by the in­dus­trial ac­tion.

The mo­tor tankers are all laden with pe­tro­leum prod­ucts while the ves­sels have wheat and fer­tiliser.

The strike will in­volve all af­fil­i­ates of the Nige­ria Labour Con­gress (NLC) and United Labour Con­gress (ULC), in­clud­ing the Mar­itime Work­ers Union of Nige­ria (MWUN), of which the dock­work­ers and all other ship­ping com­pa­nies are mem­bers.

Ef­forts to reach the Pres­i­dent, MWUN, Ade­wale Adeyanju, were not fruit­ful, as he did not pick phone calls, or re­sponded to text mes­sage sent to him yes­ter­day.

But a source in the union who pre­ferred anonymity told The Guardian that the group is cur­rently mo­bil­is­ing its mem­bers for the strike.

He said they would not hes­i­tate to shut the ports, if the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment fails to meet their de­mands.

Im­porters and clear­ing agents are ex­pected to suf­fer losses from the strike, as clo­sure of port ac­tiv­i­ties comes with heavy stor­age charges.

The in­dus­trial ac­tion will also worsen cargo con­ges­tion in the ports, which has not abated af­ter the last strike in Oc­to­ber.

An im­porter, John­son Abiyebi ap­pealed to the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment to reach an agree­ment with labour to halt the strike, as the masses will be the ones to suf­fer.

“The clo­sure of the ports will lead to an­other round of con­ges­tion. I don't know why our lead­ers are treat­ing us like this. The port is not ac­ces­si­ble, the roads are bad, we can­not clear our goods and de­mur­rage is ac­cu­mu­lat­ing on daily ba­sis.

“This ac­tion will def­i­nitely worsen the mat­ter, and I can say I am al­ready re­gret­ting im­port­ing though Nige­rian ports,” he said EBBI State Gov­er­nor, Atiku Abubakar Bagudu, has ap­pealed to work­ers to shelve the na­tion-wide strike sched­uled to be­gin to­day.

He made the ap­peal in a state­ment by his Chief Press Sec­re­tary, Abubakar Mauzu Dakingari.

He said the gov­er­nor, who is a mem­ber of the com­mit­tee work­ing to agree on the pro­pos­als, would sup­port moves to har­monise the dif­fer­ences.

The gov­er­nor promised that they would meet to fi­nalise and sign the re­port of the com­mit­tee for sub­mis­sion to Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari.

Bagudu as­sured work­ers and Nige­ri­ans in gen­eral that both the fed­eral and state gov­ern­ments would do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to up­lift the wel­fare of the work­force.

Ayuba Wabba, NLC Pres­i­dent

Chris Ngige, Labour Min­is­ter

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