The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Dockworkers, Tin Can Island Port District 2, on Monday, shutdown Bestaf Bonded Terminal, a subsidiary of MRS Oil and Gas Limited, situated at Kiri Kiri Lighter Terminal (KLT) phase 2 citing anti labour activities.
The union said the terminal is targeted for picketing aside the general shutdown of shipping companies across the nation for allegedly enslaving their members who are asff of the terminal.
It was gathered that the terminal management had on several occasions refused to grant audience to the union leadership to discuss the welfare package of the workers in their employ.
MWUN said.it was miffed following the fact that the terminal is under-staffed adding that they were not provided with appropriate Personnel Protective Equipment (PPE) to work with.
Speaking with our correspondent at the terminal, Chairman, District 1, Tincan Dockworkers, MWUN, Comrade Oluwole Adetumi noted that the shutdown was an instruction from the President General, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju.
Adetumi insisted that the alleged ongoing anti labour activities at the terminal must stop noting that the union frowned at the alleged inappropriate engagement arrangement for the workers.
Comrade Adetumi alleged enslavement of the workers saying the same of workers used at the ship side are the ones used at the examination bay which he said negated the labour law.
“We cannot continue like this because the people that will work at the quay apron at the same people that will work at the examination bay and that time the same people will work at the terminal.
“There is no way you can use the same people for unlashing of containers, offload , stuff back and at the same time conduct customs examinations . No!.
He further alleged that MRS and its subsidiary has continuously undermined Nigerian workers, pointing out that management of the company has failed to engage the union constructively on the way forward for better bargaining of members.
The Chairman alleged that the terminal operator has not consulted the MWUN about the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) in line with the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC).
He affirmed that the bonded terminal operator has the wherewithal to engage more hands to boost productivity but added that twenty workers cannot do the job alone at the off dock facility.
“This modern day slavery is no longer acceptable so therefore we are shutting down the terminal. This unholy activities have been ongoing since last year.
Giving a vivid background about the trade dispute, Adetumi stated that the MWUN had written series of letter without proper response from management of Bestaf Marine.
Adetumi lamented that the terminal failed to also provide toilets, changing room and dockworkers pool where they can relax after work.
Also speaking with union executives present at the peaceful demonstration, representatives of the terminal, Mr. Babatunde Longe explained that management had made several moves to engage the union.
In an heated argument, Longe, a former Port Manager TCIPC ,Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), maintained that the management was eager to engage the union in resolving the dispute.
He further urged the district executives to relay his message to the union leader noting that terminal operator is willing for dialogue.