Members of Shipping Association of Nigeria Agents (SAN) have raised concerns over the proposed shutdown of the nation’s seaports by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN). They have called for a reconsideration of the potential action, emphasizing its potential adverse effects on the country’s economy and the general public.
The Maritime Workers Union had previously issued a 7-day ultimatum, threatening to close down the nation’s seaports and terminals on October 30, 2023, unless the salaries and allowances of its members were reviewed. This ultimatum targeted foreign and multinational shipping companies operating in Nigeria, pressuring them to reevaluate the entitlements of MWUN members.
Addressing the media at a press conference in Lagos, SAN Chairman, Boma Alabi, expressed deep concern regarding the announced intention by the Maritime Workers Union to initiate strike action at the end of October.
Alabi pointed out that the MWUN’s ultimatum has been met with ongoing discussions and enhancements in the terms and conditions for employees of shipping companies affiliated with SAN.
The Chairman also highlighted that the MWUN has been pushing for the imposition of “minimum standards of employment.” However, she stated that the existing terms and conditions for employees of SAN member companies already surpass these alleged minimum standards.
SAN members have also extended additional support to staff to mitigate the impacts of rising fuel prices and other inflationary pressures affecting all Nigerians.
Alabi emphasized that a strike at this delicate time would negatively affect every business, worker, and consumer in Nigeria, rather than being solely directed at shipping companies. Many SAN members have invested significantly in Nigeria’s Port and Logistics sector, generating thousands of jobs and improving competitiveness and investment opportunities for businesses in the country. At a time when Nigeria requires investments to foster growth and employment, the call for a seaport shutdown is viewed as inappropriate.
The welfare of employees remains of utmost importance to SAN members, and they are committed to constructive dialogue through the existing Technical Committee, chaired by the Nigerian Shippers Council. A series of meetings have taken place, contradicting any unfounded claims of a lack of commitment on their part.
The Association of Shipping Lines Agents encourages the Maritime Workers Union to reconsider their planned action, taking into account the potential impact on the nation’s economy, employment opportunities, and the well-being of the general public.