Industrial crisis loom in the maritime industry as the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) at the weekend vowed to shut down the operations of Saipem in Nigeria over the company’s indebtedness running into more than $29 million (N10.6 billion) for various services at the port.
Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, President-General of MWUN, while addressing newsmen in Lagos, disclosed that Saipem owes the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) $19.3 million (N6.9 billion) for pilotage services
He added that Company also owes dockworkers, who are members of MWUN, through their stevedoring contractor, Agwut A. International Limited, more than $10.4 million (N3.7 billion) for accumulated stevedoring services.
Dr. Sokonte Davies, the Executive Director, Marine and Operations of NPA, confirmed the company’s huge debts in a letter dated November 15, 2017 in a letter with reference number HQ/ED/M&O/OP/1130 addressed to the Managing Director of Saipem Contracting Nigeria Limited
Davies said the huge indebtedness and Saipem’s lackluster attitude to meeting its financial obligations for the pilotage and stevedoring services is capable of stoking industrial crisis in the port.
He said: “We are constrained to once more draw your attention to the looming industrial crisis you are stoking by the refusal of your company to pay outstanding stevedoring claims to Messrs Agwut A. International Limited.
“You will recall that following the threatened industrial action by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, whose members are affected by the non-payment, the Nigerian Ports Authority intervened through letters ref: HQ/ED/M&O/OP/799 and HQ/ED/M&O/OP/806 dated August 22, 2017 and September 12, 2017 respectively. Further clarifications were made to stakeholders at a meeting recently held on stevedoring matters in which your company participated.
“The intention of the meeting is to ensure that affected parties equally understand all issues relating to this operation. Obligations on this operation are supported and guided by laws and extant guidelines in which all parties involved should not violate.”