Shipping Agents Accuse Dockworkers of Killing Eastern Ports
Shipping Trade Practitioners Association of Nigeria (STPAON) has alleged that dockworkers under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) killing trade facilitation at the eastern ports.
The association noted that the dockworkers attitudes were the real reasons importers abandoned the ports, adding that their incessant demands and alleged arm-twisting of importers and shipping agents were rampart.
According to the association, labour union executives at Port Harcourt Port were alleged to be operating unchecked in brigandage form against port stakeholders.
This is coming on the heels of recent tension at the Port-Harcourt Port, where the union has reportedly threatened to embark on a strike action over alleged refusal of terminal operators, Ports and Terminal Operators Nigeria Limited (PTOL) and BUA Terminal to engage MWUN members as tally clerks and on-board security men.
The Acting Public Relations Officer of STPAON Dr. Babalola James said that MWUN had threatened to cripple commercial activities at the Port Harcourt Port from this week due to the refusal of the two terminal operators to yield to its demands.
Babalola noted that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) had paid-off onboard security and tally clerks and also discontinued the contract henceforth.
The association had called on the Minister of Transportation, Eng Mu’azu Sambo to step into the situation and protect the interest of Nigerian economy.
It would be recalled that two weeks ago, MWUN had challenged the authority of the NPA to suspend the payment of tally clerks and on-board security men, arguing that they are not registered with her, but to NIMASA.
In a letter distributed to shipping companies and terminals dated 22nd of August, 2022 and signed by Secretary General of MWUN, Comrade Felix Akingboye, the union argued that Section 27 (1) of NIMASA Act 2007 provides that all dockworkers shall be certified and registered by NIMASA.
The letter reads: “By virtue of this provision therefore, it becomes illegal/unlawful for any Terminal Operator or Shipping Agent to engage the services of any UNREGISTERED onboardship Security Men.
“The Act in 27 (4) even stipulates a fine of one million (N1,000,000.00) for any employer of labour who engages dockworkers not registered and certified by the agency i.e NIMASA.
Similarly, section 27 (3) of the Act also imposes a fine of fifty thousand (N50,000.00) Naira on any person who is not a dockworker engages in dock work in any port, terminal offshore platforms or terminals in Nigeria.
“While we note with dissatisfaction that the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) has continued & refuse to process payment of wages of on-board ship security men based on cargo dues remitted by the shipping agents, we wish to reiterate once more that, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) lacks the power to stop the employment of registered on-board ship security men”.