COVID-19: We won’t tolerate sack, salary cut in maritime industry ― Labour

• As MWUN, ITF provide PPE to seafarers nationwide

The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), on Wednesday, warned against the sack of workers and salary cut in the Maritime Industry under the guise of the negative impact of COVID-19 pandemic.

Rather, MWUN called for better protection of Seafarers and other Maritime workers on their job, against the ravaging effect of COVOID-19, even as the union, in collaboration with International Transport Federation (ITF), presented Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to seafarers across the nation’s seaports in the country.

As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark the 2020 World Seafarers Day, the MWUN warned employers in the sector that retrenchment and salary reduction in whatever form would not be tolerated, saying, “we are fully ready for any employer that will try such.”

“We will move against any form of sack, retrenchment or slash in the salaries of workers under the guise of the negative effect of COVID-19 pandemic. Such action will not be tolerated by the union,” the President-General of MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, warned.

Adeyanju, who was speaking at the take-off of the distribution of PPE to mark the World Seafarers Day, noted that no reasonable employers, particularly in the sector should contemplate any retrenchment or salary reduction during this difficult period of COVID-19.

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The MWUN President-General said: “This is the time for employers to not only retain jobs but increase salaries and allowances of workers to cope with the consequences of COVID-19. In fact, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), has given us directive of what to do if any employer retrenches or reduces the salary of workers because of COVID-19.

“We are fully ready for any employer that will try such. The welfare of our members is paramount in this critical period and we will not tolerate any action to undermine the welfare, security and health of our members.”

On the distribution of the PPE, he said, “this is the second phase of our programme of distributing safety and protective wears to seafarers such as hand sanitisers, hand gloves, face masks, infrared thermometers; among others in all ports, starting from Lagos. By next week, we will move to other ports such as Calabar, Warri, Onne, Bonny and Port Harcourt.

“This programme was made possible through the collaboration with the ITF that graciously provided counterpart grant, a world confederation of transport unions with affiliates from 157 countries, and to which our union is equally affiliated.”

He commended the ITF for the gesture, and for providing support to the union in this trying time, adding, “we thank ITF General Secretary, Steve Cotton and his team for this awesome support to our teaming seafarers.”

Describing the seafarers as “floating prisoners”, Adeyanju stated that support of the government, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) who is the regulating agency and the employers is needed, to strengthen and sustain the sector.

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) has called on world leaders to designate Seafarers and other Maritime workers, as essential service workers as countries of the world continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, said hundreds of thousands of seafarers have been stranded at sea for months as a result of travel restrictions to combat the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.

NIGERIAN TRIBUNE

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