NORMAL activities will today return to the nation’s ports as Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria, MWUN, weekend, suspended its strike after two days.
The union had last Thursday embarked on strike to protest, among others, nine months unpaid wages to over 3,000 tally clerks and onboard security men; midstream discharge of vessels in Lagos, Bonny, Rivers State, and other ports formation nationwide and using foreigners in violation of the law.
Specifically, the union had acussed the management of Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, of conniving with shipping companies to undermine the nation’s economic interests by allowing midstream discharge without following laid down rules and regulations.
MWUN had claimed that besides the nine months unpaid wages to over 3,000 tally clerks and onboard security men, NPA was also owing the workers over one year arrears of 10 percent increment.
However, after a marathon meeting on Saturday in Lagos, a communiqué was issued jointly by Executive Director, Finance, NPA Olumide Oduntan, and the President-General of MWUN, Anthony Nted, announcing the suspension.
The communiqué explained that the agreement was reached after a meeting between representatives of NPA and MWUN.
It said all outstanding payments to tally clerks and onboard security men were now top priorities that would be paid as soon as the Treasury Single Account, TSA, issues was resolved.
The communiqué said: “All statutory payments to NPA and charges due to stevedoring contractors on MV Hawk that berthed midstream at Bonny must be paid before the vessel is allowed to sail.”
Earlier on Friday, Nted had dismissed the TSA policy excuse being given by the management of NPA for its inability to pay, saying the policy started just about two months ago, while the unpaid wages had been on for long.
He said the Cargo Surveyors, that some management of NPA brought into the ports to do the jobs that the statutorily approved tally clerks and onboard security men were doing, had been paid up till date, but the legal workers had not been paid.
He accused NPA of conniving with shipping company to undermine the nation’s economic interest by allowing midstream discharge without following laid down rules and regulations.