The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) is expected to call off its planned industrial action earlier scheduled to commence tomorrow March 1, SHIPS & PORTS can authoritatively report.
The union decided to suspend the planned strike after meeting with the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mohammed Bello-Koko in Lagos on Friday.
MWUN had, two weeks ago, threatened to shut port operations nationwide over the refusal of International Oil Companies (IOCs) to allow approved stevedoring companies and registered dockworkers to work on oil platforms.
The President-General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, after the meeting with the NPA Managing Director, said, “We commend the NPA as our landlord and parent employer. We are happy with the MD’s intervention and confidence-building words. We will consider shelving the planned strike pending the outcome of further meetings. We are doing this as a show of respect to your office and in the interest of peace and industrial harmony in our maritime industry.”
Adeyanju assured the NPA chief that “an enlarged meeting of relevant stakeholders to discuss and resolve all issues of concern” has been scheduled to hold today.
Speaking earlier, the Bello-Koko reminded the union leaders that shutting down port operations could create negative ripple effects in the economy.
“It is very important we keep the ports open for business 24 hours daily. This is our cardinal mandate as a port administration and I expect your union as a critical stakeholder would continue to partner with us to maintain and sustain this mandate,” Bello-Koko said.
The NPA Managing Director assured the union that the authority would work with the Federal Ministry of Transportation to ensure that IOCs allow appointed stevedores and dockworkers access to their platforms as stipulated by law.
In a related development, the NPA MD has entreated customs agents protesting against the new Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) valuation system introduced by Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to sheath their swords and embrace dialogue in resolving all their complaints against the new method of computing customs duty on imported vehicles.
The NPA MD, who visited the Tin Can Island Port Complex last Friday, said any disruption in the supply chain would lead to higher cost and longer delivery time for shipments – a situation that could reflect negatively on the bottom line of all players involved in port business, including government agencies.
“My appeal to our customs agents and freight forwarders is to engage the Nigeria Customs Service, rather than result to self-help or take actions that would promote port congestion and all the challenges that come with it. As the landlord and technical regulator, we will be working with sister government agencies to ensure Nigerian ports remains business-friendly and globally competitive,” he said.