Regulators of terminal operators and shipping firms in the maritime industry, the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), has intervened in the ongoing crisis between the AP Moller Terminals (APMT) and protesting dockworkers under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) over unresolved dispute.
As of the time of filing this report, it was learnt that the officials of the NSC were still in a meeting with the leadership of MWUN with a view to dousing the tension.
It would be recalled that aggrieved dockworkers under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have shut down the APM Terminals in Apapa, thereby crippling port operations over poor remuneration of workers at the facilities.
Top executives of the union led by the President-General of MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju, and other members of the dockworker’s branch converged on the entry points of the terminals during the protest, insisting that management of the terminal was taking Nigerian labour workers for granted, hence the need for the demonstration.
This followed 24 hours after the expiration of the three-day extension of the strike notice, which the leadership of MWUN gave issued to the terminal operator earlier in the week.
Consequently, managements of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and NSC started mounting pressure on the terminal operators to find a lasting solution to the current impasse.
Adeyanju said if the management of the APM Terminal refuses to meet with the workers and accede to their demands, the closure of the terminals would continue.
“Our members have closed APM Terminals in Apapa. All the examination offices in the container terminal that are being used by officials of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) are currently shut. The agitation is connected with the refusal of the APM Terminal, Apapa management to review the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of the workers, which ought to be reviewed every year.
“It is an internal agreement between the workers and the terminal operator, but the terminal operator has refused to review the condition of service of the workers this year and that is why everywhere inside APM Terminals is currently under lock and key.
“Management of the APM Terminals has decided to act funny by not reviewing the workers’ condition of service, but I will address the workers soon. If APM Terminals refuses to meet with us, the shutdown of port operations at APM Terminals, Apapa will continue,” he stated.
Confirming the situation at the APM Terminals, the Spokesman of Apapa Command of the NCS, Abubakar Usman, explained that officers were currently in the ports, but could not access their examination offices, as the workers had shut the entrance gates against them.
“Our officials are in the ports. They have not been locked out of the ports. However, their offices have been locked up by the protesting workers. If the officers cannot access their offices, there is no way they can carry out any cargo clearance duty. Our men are there, but are not working currently, because of the protesting workers, who have locked up all the cargo examination offices in APM Terminals,” he said.