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Dockworkers set for showdown with terminal operators over poor working condition

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Baring any urgent intervention from the management of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), dockworkers in Lagos seaports appears set to truncate normal operations at the AP Moller Terminal (APMT).

The marine workers angst against the foremost terminal operators is not unconnected with the inability of the two bodies to agree on a mutually acceptable condition of service for the mariners who work at the terminal.

Already,  the parent body of the workers, the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened to embark on a three-day warning strike if the management of port concessionaire, APMT refused to conclude negotiations on the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for its employees who are members of the union. Deadline is before this week runs out.

The dockers, who addressed a protest letter to the NPA Managing Director, Mohammed Bello Koko specifically indicated that their patience with the terminal management would no longer hold, if after Thursday 21 July the private operator refuses to accede to its demands.

While pointing out that the APMT management had allegedly refused to reach a conclusion on the CBA, the protest letter further noted that all efforts to get them back on the negotiation table with the union representatives had failed.

They pointed out that they had earlier engaged the terminal operators in four separate meetings to resolve the impasse, but regretted that all the sittings had ended in futility, owing to the recalcitrant posture of APMT management.

Furtherance to the development, the workers said they gave the terminal operators a seven-day ultimatum to reconvene for negation, but yielded no positive response, hence the fresh three-day ultimatum which would expire by Thursday.

The union warned that after Thursday, it might no longer be in a position to continue in holding back the already agitated Dockers who are now spoiling for a showdown with the terminal operators.

The protest letter further stated: “We are constrained to report to you Sir, the persistent refusal of the APMT management to conclude Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiation with the union – Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, in spite of concerted efforts to bring negotiations to closure.

“We want to say that Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria has held over four meetings with APMT Management, all of which ended inconclusive due to the recalcitrant posture of APMT management.

“Having exhausted all available means of negotiation, the union initially issued APMT management, a seven-day ultimatum which has since elapsed. We want to say further sir, that Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, being an organization that believes in due process has extended the strike notice by another three days effective from 18 July 2022 to 6pm Thursday 21 July 2022 to conclude negotiation, otherwise the union might not be able to pacify our members”.

The union replicated the warning letter to APMT management, urging it to comply within the stipulated period, or be ready for the workers’ action.

Officials of the terminal operators could not be reached for comments, as phone calls to them yielded no response.

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