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NLC wades into MWUN, Intels’ dispute, seeks peaceful resolution

By Gloria Nwafor
18 February 2021   |   4:15 am
Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has waded into the trade dispute between the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and Integrated Logistics Services (Intels).

[FILES] NLC President, Comrade Ayuba Wabba. Photo: TWITTER/NLCHEADQUARTERS

Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) has waded into the trade dispute between the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and Integrated Logistics Services (Intels).

This followed the December 2020 sack of about 600 members of MWUN, without payment of their terminal benefits.

In a letter to the Managing Director, Integrated Logistics Services, Onne Port, Rivers State, recently, President of NLC, Ayuba Wabba, said the national leadership of NLC was prepared to provide an enabling environment for the peaceful resolution of all the issues at short notice.

NLC in a letter titled “Re-report of Messer Intels Services Ltd anti-labour practice”, recalled the letter of complaints by MWUN, an affiliate, over the dispute between it and Intels, saying in MWUN’s letter of complaint dated 21/01/2021, the union averred that “Associated Maritime Services (AMS) which employs some of its member, “provide dedicated personnel for intel Nig. Ltd. Accordingly, Intel Nig. Ltd always gives instructions to AMS to declare redundancy and number of workers to be declared redundant and issues instructions to AMS to carry out its wishes.

“Over the years, redundancy matters at AMS were jointly sorted out as “Intel being the principal always negotiated with the Union, staff welfare benefits and severance packages to workers of Associated Maritime Services. However, recently the management of Intel refused to negotiate with the Union, “severance benefits of 602 workers now reduced to 599 whose appointments on the instruction of Intels were terminated without payment either by Intel or AMS”.

“The Union also averred that from the facts above, it was obvious that the relationship had always been a tripartite one with Intel ‘being the principal employer’.

“In light of this, it was taken aback when ‘Intel refused to be present at the negotiation table with AMS and the Union’ over the severance benefits of 602 workers (now reduced to 599). After a prolonged wait to get Intels to the negotiating table failed, the Union in exercise of its statutory right, gave a seven-day notice to the authorities to withdrawal all letters of redundancy issued to our members.”

“Instead of seeing reason, and come to the negotiating table, Intel Nig. Ltd locked out our members from assessing their work place and stationed at the gate, well-armed security operatives who kept chasing away our members. Consequent upon the lock-out, the Union embarked upon a three days warning strike to draw the attention of the Government to the unfair labour practice of Intels Management.

The Union further averred that the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in its quest for an amicable resolution of the matter, twice scheduled a meeting (on the 9th and 15th of December 2020) with the Intels and the Union but Intels declined to be at the meeting on both occasions; In site of the belligerence of Intels, the intervention of the Commissioner of Police (Eastern Port Police Command) and other respected stakeholders led to the suspension of the strike on the second day. However, rather than reciprocate this goodwill, Intels instituted an action against the leadership of the Union at the National Industrial Court; Port Harcourt Division, and has since refused to pay any of the599 employers who are in dire financials straits with their families.

The union, left with a little option has declared a trade dispute with Intels and filed same with the Ministry of Labour Employment.

“If the aforementioned account is the reflection of what has happened between Intels and the Maritime Union, we would urge you to reconsider of your decisions in line with provisions of our Labour law and fair labour practices. We are prepared to provide an enabling environment for the peaceful resolution of all the issues at short notice.

In our view, the first step towards an amicable resolution of issues is cessation of further hostile actions by either side, and withdrawal of pending actions.”

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