Amid the planned one-week strike action by Maritime Workers to shutdown the Nigerian ports by Monday, the Association of Shipping Lines Agents (SAN) has advised the group to continue dialogue as shutting the ports will be inappropriate and lead to huge economic consequences.
SAN made this known in a press statement signed by its Chairman, Boma Alabi OON, disseminated on Thursday, with the group stressing that welfare of employees is a matter of utmost importance to its members.
“Shipping agencies note with concern the announcement by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria of their intention to commence strike action by 30th October 2023. We remain open for constructive dialogue through the existing Technical Committee of employers and MWUN which is chaired by the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC).”
“While we have repeatedly reminded the MWUN that SAN members do not encompass the totality of employers in the Maritime sector, we have been engaging with MWUN on certain improvements to terms and conditions for employees. Several enhancements have already been tabled, and as far as we are concerned dialogue is ongoing, the most recent meeting having been on 29th September 2023,” the statement read.
Noting that MWUN seeks to impose minimum standards of employment, the members of SAN consider existing terms and conditions for SAN member companies employees to be significantly above the minimum standards demanded by MWUN.
“In recent weeks many companies have provided additional palliatives to staff to cushion the effects of fuel price hikes and other inflationary pressures affecting all Nigerians. A strike in the ports at this delicate time is a strike against every single business, worker and consumer in Nigeria, not simply against shipping companies.”
“Many of our members are significant investors in the Port and Logistics sector in Nigeria, creating thousands of jobs and helping to enhance and improve competitiveness and investment opportunities for businesses in the country. At a time where Nigeria needs investment to create growth and opportunities for employment, we consider a call to shut down the Nations ports to be wholly inappropriate,” the group said.