Labour tackles oil firms over debts to contractors

Workers under the auspices of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have fallen out with some international oil companies over the latter’s failure to pay stevedoring service charges.

In a petition to the Inspector General of Police and the Director-General, Department of State Services on their behalf, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) referred to a complaint by MWUN vide letters dated June 11, 2019.

The official memo referenced MWUN/PS/FMT/TWN/2019 and another dated June 27, 2019 and referenced MWUN/PS/FMT/R/TWN/2019, gave hints into the development.

Intimating the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Transportation, Abuja in a memo signed by NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba, the union complained that oil firms operating both on-shore, off-shore and in Nigeria’s ports cum jetties had refused to process and pay the invoices from stevedoring contractors servicing the nation’s ports.

The letter noted that failure by the international oil companies to pay the affected contractors had equally resulted in the failure of stevedoring firms to pay their workers many months of salaries and wages.

According to NLC, “this has led to the death of many dockworkers given the denial of the means to access healthcare.

“Consequent upon the elapse of a two weeks ultimatum which was communicated to your office vide the letters under reference, MWUN has declared a strike action. This strike action could have been easily averted if steps were taken to diligently engage the issues raised by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria.

“In order to avoid further escalation of this industrial dispute and in the interest of peace and harmony, we urge your office to intervene expeditiously in this matter. We expect a meeting between your office, MWUN leadership, and relevant stakeholders involved in this issue in order to resolve this matter and move the maritime industry forward.”

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