Maritime Worker’s Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has commended the Chairman of Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), former Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman, Chairperson, Nigerian Ship-owners Forum, Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi, among other maritime amazons who have inspired women in the sector.
The President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju gave this commendation while speaking at the maiden seminar and award presentation by Shipping Branch Women’s Wing of MWUN, in Lagos, yesterday.
At the event themed: “Women in Unionism: Balancing Work, Family and Health”, the President General of MWUN, described the programme as an epoch-making event.
His words: “We are proud to be part of history making and I whole heartedly applaud and commend your decision to host this event. Women form an integral part of our labour movement in Maritime. They have grown ebullient, efficient and professional. Armed with the necessary skills and intellect to adapt to practically any situation. Biologically they are designed to be adaptative fitting into most roles they encounter.”
“This industry has top women who have contributed to the success and development of the sector. When Ms. Hadiza Bala-Usman was Managing Director of NPA, we observed how she contributed immensely to developing the port sector and significantly improved the welfare of port workers. Chairman of STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup is also another top maritime women. We also have Barr. (Mrs.) Margaret Orakwusi, a former President of Nigerian Trawler Owners Association; pioneer Director General of Nigerian Chamber of Shipping, Mrs. Ify Akerele; maritime legal giant, Mrs. Jean-Chiazor Anishere (SAN); the Managing Director of Bomarah Group, Hajia Bola Muse; Comrade Funmi Fasan & Comrade Matina Njoku, Vice President General and National Trustee of MWUN respective. The list of women with exploits in maritime is endless”
Addressing employers at the event, the MWUN President General expressed dissatisfaction at the poor remuneration and welfare packages at shipping companies, stressing the excuse of economic pangs resulting from COVID-19 pandemic is no longer tenable.
He hinted that the union may have to resort to a new ultimatum and possibly a strike action to drive home their demands for better salaries and welfare packages from shipping companies as most companies have shown willingness to dialogue.
Adeyanju expressed delight that women now undertake certain jobs which were hitherto men domain, noting that at companies like TICT, BOLLORE, APMT, ENL, MAESRK, LTT and other terminals women are RTG drivers, crane operators, captains and ship engineers and they are pushing to do more.
Meanwhile, he encouraged women in other branches of MWUN to take a cue from the celebration by the Shipping Branch in a bid to organize similar activities to celebrate themselves, MWUN leaders and the entire maritime industry.
The event also featured the presentation of awards of excellence to the Managing Director of Maersk Line, Mrs. Lara Lana; Managing Director of Bollore Logistics, Mrs. Sade Akanni-Shele; former HR Manager at Bollore, Mrs. Patience Daniel; HR Manager at CMA-CGM; Mrs. Benedicta Altalegbe and eleven others.
In her welcome address, the Special Female Representative of Shipping Branch, Comrade Rosemary Otikpere said the motive behind the event was to educate the newly inducted female union members on how to balance work, manage their homes effectively and take good care of their health.
“We also want to breach the gap between the female management staff and the female staff of our various companies, to let them know they are our role models and we look up to them and wish to move higher. We are also going to honour all the female Managing Directors (MDs) and Human Resources Managers (HRMs) in the industry breaching the barrier of gender inequality,” she said.
Describing the outing as one that would better project the image of MWUN, she revealed that the group intended to purchase a bus for easy movement of the shipping branch women “as we have lots of projects ahead of us as relates to visiting motherless homes and empowering the less privileged”