By our correspondents
The Nigerian Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to prevail on employers in the maritime sector not to sack any of its members under the guise of COVID-19 effects.
Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, the President General of the MWUN made the call on Wednesday during the formal launching of sensitization and distribution of COVID-19 preventive equipment to seafarers in collaboration with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) in Lagos.
He also canvassed for palliative incentive for seafarers aboard ships in the nation’s seaports, saying that most of the essential workers (Seafarers) who stay up to three to six months on board vessels have nobody to take care of them, hence the need for their employers to add palliative incentives to their salaries.
Adeyanju maintained that: “The stand of the Nigerian Labour Congress is our stand too. We will resist any attempt by any employer to use the opportunity of the COVID-19 to sack our members.
“What we are saying is that palliative incentive should be added to the salaries of seafarers who have become floating prisoners because the duration they stay there, nobody takes care of them.
“The moment they come back, the employers should give them palliative.
“We are telling NIMASA as the regulatory agency for seafarers that they should tell employers that palliative incentive should be given to all the seafarers across Nigeria.
“We will rely on the Collective Bargaining Agreement that we have with them, the Labour Law is there.
“They cannot just downsize our members like that, we will go back to the CBA that we signed with them.
Apparently worried about stranded Seafarers worldwide and trending crew change, the union embarked on the distribution of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to members and foreign crew in all the ports in Nigeria.
The Union’s boss stressed that the move was necessary to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He added that despite the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria, it has become expedient for seafarers to provide essential services and ensuring that the economy keeps running.
He said, “Comrades, our focus as a union in this dire time is foremost the protection of human to prevent further spread of the COVID-19 in the seaports and amongst our members, the seafarers.
“We are here today Comrades to carry out the second phase of our programme involving the distribution of safety palliative to seafarers such as hand sanitisers, hand gloves, face masks, infrared thermometers etc in all ports starting with Lagos ports today and moving on to other ports such as Calabar, Port Harcourt, Onne, Warri, Bonny others next week.
According to him, the programme was made possible through collaboration with the International Transport Workers Federation who he said provided counterpart funding of the palliative.
He noted that the initiative was the first of its kind between ITF and MWUN in Nigeria and West Africa , even as he added that the Union looked forward to more of such progressive activities.
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