The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has inaugurated and unionized barge operators as members of the union.
Chairman of the Coordinating committee and Deputy President General of MWUN, Comrade Tonye Harry, said the barge workers operate in 22 jetties and 14 catchment areas including Festac, Apapa and Lekki with over 70 members.
He said the unionization of the barge operators was carried out in line with the constitution of the union.
“Just three weeks ago, the President General set up this committee to look into the affairs of the maritime barge operators and immediately the committee was set up, we went into action. We have had several meetings with the operators within the axis and we have agreed with them that there should be a maritime barge operating unit.
“This action is in tandem with rule two of our constitution, which says that one of the aims and objectives of the union is to secure the unionization of eligible workers within the jurisdictional scope of MWUN as stipulated by the trade union amendment Decree 4 of 1999.
“So, having recognized this rule, we met with them at several meetings and we have been able to coordinate the operators. For now, we have 22 jetties within that axis that are viable and the catchment areas are about 14 and these 14 areas are located between Festac, Apapa, Iddo and Lekki area, not counting those jetties situated within the port axis.
“We have also realized that the operators are about 70 in number, which means we can unionize them and they can at least form two units for them to commence operation,” he said.
While inaugurating the executives of the two units, President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, assured the operators of the union’s support just as he warned them to eschew thuggery and any act of hooliganism that could dent the image of the union.
According to him, several operations were weighed before the union took the decision to unionize the barge operators.
“I am assuring you that the union will give you all the support needed to operate successfully in line with the constitution. If you manage it well, you will become large but if you always bring crisis, it will create a lack of sincerity of purpose. The Chairman must remember that he has executives and you all must work together as one.
“We will not want you to derail our administration. The union today is so scientific and not the union of years ago where members parade themselves as thugs. Maritime workers under our watch will never tolerate that kind of attitude of thuggery. I am a peacemaker but if you want to give me trouble, I will tell you goodnight and run away from you.
“When you put money first, you will lose track but put first the interest of the people you want to serve, then money will come later,” he said.