How APM Terminals, Apapa brought in Ghanaians, Benineses to replace Nigerians ― MWUN
•As maritime workers suspend strike
After the intervention of the Nigerian Shippers” Council (NSC), maritime workers under the aegis of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has suspended the shutdown of the APM Terminals, Apapa over anti-labour practices. This is even as the workers stated that they embarked on strike because APM Terminals brought in Ghanaians and Benineses to replace Nigerian workers in Apapa port.
At a meeting held on Friday with the Executive Secretary of NSC, Barr. Hassan Bello in his office, the President-General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju warned other multinational companies in the maritime sector to desist from bringing in expatriates from Benin Republic, Ghana and other West African countries to take over jobs meant for Nigerians.
Adeyanju said that for over 16 years, the MWUN has never shut down or issued an ultimatum on the terminal. He however said that the present management of APM Terminals does not have regards for the dockworkers and terminal workers that are working for them.
Adeyanju alleged that the terminal operator collapsed the security department and brought in expatriates from the Benin Republic and Ghana to take over jobs meant for Nigerians. He said the collapsed department was done without due process even when the union had an existing agreement with the terminal operator that they have to work in line with labour best practices.
According to Adeyanju, “The APM Terminals management brought in people from Cotonou and Ghana to come and take over jobs meant for Nigerians. Jobs that our people have been trained conveniently to carry out. The terminal workers in APMT are the best workers anyone can think of and what they are doing now is to bring in Beninoise to take over the jobs all in the name of expatriates.
“We said no if this company can collapse a department, they might equally extend it to other departments having it in mind to replace all Nigerians with foreigners. The worst thing they did was to bring in an accountant from Ghana to become Director of Finance at the company. Are they saying we do not have qualified accountants in Nigeria?”
Adeyanju, however, called on the Nigerian government to look inwards by beaming its searchlight on foreigners and their work permit expiration date, noting that the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) and other agencies on foreign affairs should work round the clock to put the expatriates in check.
Responding, the Executive Secretary, of the NSC, commended the effort of the union for the scientific approach in the industrial action against APM Terminals.
Bello also accused APM Terminals of resisting regulation saying the request for information by the Council was turned down by the management of the terminal.
“Some terminals are bent on bending rules of this country. They have no respect for the law. This is a letter from the same terminal saying they won’t obey our instructions. We are just asking for information and it is the same notorious terminal we are talking about. They are putting themselves in a position that will not favour them because the government is already aware of this in their letter to us. We are filing and sending to the government and it will be recorded against them because they will come for renewal of their lease.”
He said the Council and the union would work assiduously to sustain the peace and harmony that have existed in port operations pointing out that the terminal operator has allegedly refused to abide by the laws of the land.
“Nobody should come to Nigeria and disrespect us. We support the union for putting the terminal operator to order.
We have rules and regulations. We have laws and we have sanctions and nobody should come to our country and take us for a ride,” he added.
Bello stated that the strike action on such a facility does affect the nation’s economy because it either fuel gridlock on the port road or congestion inside the port.
“When we see a terminal shut down, we become concerned because of the implications on the economy. It will either add up to the gridlock or to the congestion in the port. We know you are not a striking group and we know it is because you are being pushed to the wall, and you used the strike as the last option. you are a well-reformed union.
“We are all into this and no one should come to our country and disrespect the law of the country. We protect you, give you chance to make gains but what happened is the cumulative action of the terminal operator,” he lamented.
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