Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has warned employers in the nation’s maritime industry not to consider retrenching or reducing the salaries of workers under the guise of the negative effect of the COVID-19 pandemic.
This came as the union in commemoration of the 2020 World Seafarers Day, presented Personal Protective Equipment (PPEs) to seafarers across the nation’s seaports in collaboration with International Transport Federation (ITF).
The union, which vowed to resist any such move, said it had the backing of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) as stated in an earlier directive released to them on what to do should any employer decided to retrench or reduce the salary of workers because of the COVID-19.
MWUN President-General, Adewale Adeyanju, who made this known during the distribution of the PPEs yesterday, maintained that no reasonable employer would even want to increase the suffering of the masses by contemplating such action.
“This is the time for employers to not only retain jobs, but increase salaries and allowances of workers to cope with consequences of COVID-19. In fact, Nigeria Labour Congress, NLC, has given us directive as to 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 at this critical period and we will not tolerate any action that will undermine the welfare, security and health of our members.”
On the PPEs, he said: “This is the second phase of our programme of distributing safety and protective wears to seafarers such as hand sanitisers, hand gloves, facemasks, 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 collaboration with the ITF that graciously provided counterpart grants, a world confederation of transport unions with affiliates from 157 countries, and to which our union is equally affiliated.”
Adeyanju, who described the seafarers as “floating prisoners,” added that they needed the support of the government, the regulator, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and employers to strengthen and sustain the sector.