…as Maritime union shuts down Nation’s Sea Ports
…NLC insists on strike despite government’s plea
In line with the Nigeria Labour Congress’ (NLC’s) directive, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has announced that all ports in Nigeria from 5am tomorrow will be shut down to activities as the Union embarks on an indefinite strike.
President General, MWUN, Comrade Prince Adewale Adeyanju, who made this announcement some hours ago said the decision was in compliance to the NLC directive that all affiliated unions embark on an indefinite strike with respect to the incessant hike in price of fuel (Premium Spirit) and increased electricity tariff.
He said MWUN has mobilised its members to shut down all the Nation’s ports; Lagos, Warri, Port Hacourt (Onne) and Calabar in compliance to NLC’s directive.
“Consequently, all ports gates will be shut to business and port users from 5am tomorrow being Monday 28th September, 2020. Ports users on caveat,” he explained.
In the same vein, all the unions in the Aviation Industry under the aegis of National Union of Air Transport Employees (NUATE), National Association of Aircraft Pilots and Engineers (NAAPE), Air Transport Services Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (ATSSSAN) and Association of Nigeria Aviation Professional (ANAP) have announced their commencement of an indefinite strike from tomorrow.
“As you are aware, the NLC and Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) have declared indefinite strike action with effect from Monday 28th September, 2020.
“Our Unions as named above are in full support of the strike action. As such all workers in the Aviation Sector are hereby directed to withdraw their services at all aerodromes as from 00 hours of 28th September 2020 until otherwise communicated by the NLC/TUC or our unions.
“All workers must comply. The general public particularly airport users, aviation concerns and agencies are hereby notified accordingly,” the Aviation unions declared in a press statement.
The federal government recently increased the pomp rice of premium spirit as well as electricity tariff saying that there was no going back to its action. However, workers in various sectors and industries had kicked against this, stressing that it was an inconsiderate decision to take in view of the obvious hardship imposed on the entire world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
To avert the strike by the NLC, the House of Representatives had offered NLC some palliatives at a negotiation meeting with Labour today in Abuja, saying that some palliatives were being considered to cushion the effects of increase in electricity tariff and fuel price hike.
According to Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, the palliatives would be included in the proposed 2021 budget meant to be presented to the National Assembly soon.
He said the palliatives includes distribution of food items, reduction of taxes on minimum wage and payment of some special allowances.
Others are involvement in ownership of housing programmes through mortgage and distribution of special buses to public institutions which run on auto gas.
Gbajabiamila said that the palliatives would go a long way to ease the suffering of Nigerians, adding that the lawmakers would also make provision in the budget to tackle the eight million deficit of meters to enable Nigerians to access them.
Gbajabiamila, who described estimated billing as a scam, said: “I have never heard it anywhere in the world, so if we may have to provide for the deficit, we will have to do that.”
He appealed to Labour to suspend the planned strike, saying embarking on industrial action at this critical time would not augur well for the citizenry.
He said: “You know, you cannot go on strike at this time, if you go on strike, the people you think you are protecting will be at the receiving end, we share your philosophy regarding workers’ rights.
“We know what Nigerians are going through, our position on electricity billing is obvious, the only thing now is to continue to talk and I am concerned about the people out there.
“Shutting down the markets, banks and other places of work is my worry, I am concerned about the people.”
The President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said that the increase in electricity tariff and hike in fuel price had eroded the purchasing power of Nigerian workers.
He said the initial plan was that there would not be increase in electricity tariff until meters were provided for Nigerians.
Wabba commended the Speaker for the intervention, adding that he had consistently represented the interest of Nigerians.
He however, said there was a valid court judgment nullifying the electricity tariff, adding that the judgment of the National Industrial Court asking NLC to stop its planned strike could not be sustained.
Wabba insisted that the NLC would go ahead with the strike if its demands were not met by the federal government before the expiration of the ultimatum.
With the government giving deaf ears to its request the NLC had gone ahead to make good its threat of carrying out an indefinite strike involving all the workers in the Country until the needful is achieved.
Picture Caption: Comrade Prince Adewale Adeyanju.