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Apprehension as union threatens strike against terminals operators, employers who fail to facilitate vaccination of workers 

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Segun Oladipupo

The leadership of Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened industrial action against any terminal operator, ship owner that fails to facilitate vaccination of their workers against COVID-19

The union said that it cannot continue to watch the lives of its members being endangered against the different variants of the dreaded disease spreading across the globe.

The union maintained that adequate measures must be put in place to ensure that members of the union are vaccinated because they daily interact with people and may not know who is a carrier of the disease.

President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju who spoke with our correspondent on Friday in Lagos , reiterated that the national officers, branch executives and district executives have taken the first and second jabs of the vaccine, adding that they are bracing up for the booster in a few days away.

According to him, seafarers and dockworkers must be carried along in the vaccination exercise at the ports and onboard ships as essential workers in the fight against coronavirus, adding that the Covid-19 pandemic is not meant for the elite alone but every human beings that breathe in oxygen and out carbon dioxide.

Adeyanju maintained that the concessionaires must liaise with port health services personnel to carry out the vaccination from port to port across the littoral states in Nigeria, pointing out dockworkers and seafarers have what it takes to spread the pandemic to the larger society if neglected.

He also commended management of APM Terminal  Apapa for the swift action in the vaccination of dockworkers at the facility, saying that the concessionaire understood the risk involved in the Omicron variant spread.

While reiterating the union’s commitment of members’welfare and health status, Adeyanju affirmed that dockers and seamen are dealing directly with foreigners on a regular basis, thus must be taken seriously health wise.

“We have sent memo to all the terminal operators and shipping agencies to carry out vaccination of our members in the seafaring and shipping sub sections and dockworkers. It’s very key because we don’t know who is a carrier.

“I think NIMASA , port health services and NPA should be awake to their responsibilities. It is for the benefit for everybody. We are aware that some stakeholders are not ready for the jab.

“The national staff of the union has taken it, the branch executives have taken it and the district officers have equally taken it but what about those at the quays and aboard ships. It’s about prevention.

“We might be forced to declare trade dispute with the terminal operators if they fail to carry out vaccination of our workers. We want them to give our members the vaccines .

“We will declare against any terminal operators who fail to vaccinate our members in their terminals and we will also do same with the shipping agencies because our members are the frontline workers.

“We must lead by example because the employers must ensure that the workers are safe. Health is wealth .”

“As a responsible leader, we must ensure that things are done to favour our workers. We must ensure that the employees and employers benefit from the system in moving the sector forward,” he stated.

© 2022, maritimemag. All rights reserved.

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