Maritime workers shut ports over proposed Ports and Habour bill

Maritime workers protesting ports and harbour bill in Apapa port Lagos Nigeria

In an apparent move to scuttle the passing into law the controversial Ports and Harbour bill presently at the National Assembly, the coalition of the two industrial unions in the Nigerian maritime industry, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and the Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporation (SSACTAC) literally shut down the ports across the country, thus disrupting movement of cargo at the ports.
As early as 6.00am Tuesday morning, the protesting workers, brandishing placards of different description, swooped on the Marina Headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), forcing the staff out of their various offices to take part in the exercise.
The agitating workers also spilled on to the road, forcing traffic to crawl past.
Simultaneously, the activities at the Lagos ports and other ports across the country were similarly grounded.
Explaining the rationale for the protest, the National President of the MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju stated that the strike, which was total and cut across all ports in the country, was a warning strike aimed at stopping further amendment of the NPA Act.
“Our members nationwide today, from Rivers ports to Calabar ports down to Onne, Lagos and Tin-Can ports trooped out to protest amendment of the NPA Act by some perceived vested interests under the guise of the Ports and Harbours Bill.
“We practically grounded ports activities from 6.00am today and just called off the strike by noon because the protest is a warning strike. If they don’t stop the policy of throwing workers out of their jobs under the guise of amending the NPA Act, what will follow next will be worse than what happened today.”
Adeyanju noted that if the Bill is passed into law,it would lead to massive job loss to members of the union as item 6 of the second schedule of the Bill states that not all the staff of the NPA would be absolved into the Harbour Authority.
He said the purpose of the Bill is to strip workers of their common wealth through further concession of harbour operations in the guise of amending port Act of 1955.
Workers were seen brandishing different placards and fliers kicking against further amendment of the NPA Act.
Many trucks that wanted to go into the ports to pick containers were trapped outside due to the crowd in front of the Lagos ports and Tin-Can ports entrance, while trucks that were scheduled to have left the ports could not load cargoes due to absence of workers to work on such cargoes before loading process.

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