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‘Why we suspended protest’-MWUN boss

The President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has given reasons for the suspension of the protest action it embarked upon last week, when it picketed APM Terminals (APMT), noting that whereas strike action is now treated as a last resort strategy, APMT he said failed to retrace its steps after the union visisted and asked the organization to adjust to acceptable and lawful labour practice in its employment policy.

Adeyanju who gave the explanation during a visit to the Executive Secretary/CEO of Nigerian Shippers’ Council, Mr. Hasan Bello, noted that it is disappointing that some operators are attempting to take the peaceful disposition of the union for granted.

He further explained that before the picketing Thursday last week, he and his executive management has visisted the management of  APMT where he advised them to reverse anti-labour practices it was involved in, such as illegal employment of foreigners and unacceptable outsourcing of jobs Nigerians are eminently qualified to do.

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Responding, Bello thanked Adeyanju and his executive team for raising the bar in industrial harmony and responsible unionism, and lauded the efforts of the union particularly for the professional, scientific and mature approach the union adopted in the industrial action against APMT.

Bello assured the union leadership of the council’s determination to continue to work and cooperate with it in order to sustain the peace and harmony in the port industry, even as he expressed regret on the alleged failure of APMT to operate within the rule of engagement and the laws of the land.

He said, “Nobody should come to Nigeria and disrespect us. We support the union for putting the terminal operator to order. We have rules and regulations, we have laws and we have sanctions and nobody should come to our country and take us for a ride.

Earlier before the protest action, Adeyanju accused APMT of anti-labour practices by unlawfully outsourcing jobs Nigerian workers can do to foreigners. He had warned terminal operators, especially APMT not to drag the union back to the dark days of industrial unrest, protestations and withdrawal of services through wrong policies and deviant practices inimical to the growth of the industry.

Agitated by the development, the MWUN President General warned that the union will take all necessary steps to halt such practices, and called on those involved to quickly end such practice, and not to allow the union get dragged it into avoidable standoff.

Adeyanju also expressed his concern during maritime workers recent 5th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference held in Lagos, where he lamented that such practice amounts to capital flight and employment abuse.

He said, “The issue of outsourcing of jobs that are creditably performed by Nigerians has become endemic in the maritime sector.  A case in point is the recent outsourcing of its security functions by a certain maritime company to foreign nationals who have no stake in the Nigerian project except for profit and capital flight.

“The ongoing situation will undoubtedly send hundreds of Nigerian workers into unemployment market, while creating employment for foreign nationals. This has to stop forthwith as it is at variance with the Nigerian Labour Law.”

The maritime labour leader who was returned unopposed for a second term of four years in office said he and his executive management will continue to pursue maritime workers welfare and deepen their professionalism in order to achieve efficient productivity; while building on the pillars of sustainable industrial peace.

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