The Maritime Worker Union of Nigeria (MWUN) wants a representative of the Union to be part of an already set up COVID-19 Ports Committee.
President General of the MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, made this known in his May Day speech to the maritime workers, adding that the essence was for protecting the interest of the union members.
He also requested the need for regular reviews of safety protocols, saying “We suggest that the mandate of the committee be inclusive of the continuous review of preventive measures for the workforce and monitor all protocols so that all changes are to be implement through the appropriate collective bargaining agreements and labour relations structure.”
Adeyanju reiterated the reality and devastating effect of the disease as he raised concerns that “COVID – 19 is real and spreading at an alarming rate. Its impact on the maritime economy is tending towards reducing revenue generation to the government, as our ports, jetties and terminals face the risk of low patronage.”
He complained of terminals not driven to educating the dockworkers, who are mostly the front- liners on the need to safeguard themselves while on essential duty.
The PG, therefore, called on the Federal Government to “immediately as a matter of urgency, equip and direct the relevant agency on the need to boost sensitization of our members in the quay apron as well as all other port users and stakeholders in tow.”
He expressed hope that such effort could help strengthen and enlarge the scope and reach of the union’s ongoing sensitization programme for its members.
He, however, commended employers and Seaport Terminals Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) led by Madam Vicky Haastrup and assured them of the Union’s resolve to remain in close contact with industry partners, relevant regulators and health authorities regarding the implementation of measures against the spreading of the coronavirus and the willingness to continue to adhere to their advice.
He said: “We are committed to safeguarding all our members, and will continue to monitor, implement and improve measures to prevent the COVID – 19 disease from spreading. On behalf of our members I wish to commend the federal government for the safety net put in place so far.
“Comrades, as we face these challenges of daily living, of declining capacity to earn, of restrictions in movement, of inadequate isolation centres, insufficient ventilators, lack of insurance cover and other such seemingly debilitating problems, do not despair, be encouraged and live to your fullest
potential in solidarity and industrial harmony.”