Nigerian port workers back down on strike over bad roads

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Nigeria’s port workers’ union on Wednesday backed down from a threat to call an indefinite strike that could have shut the country’s main seaports.

The Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) said it would order its members to down tools because of the state of access roads to the country’s busiest port, Lagos.

But MWUN president-general Adawale Adeyanju told AFP the industrial action was called off after a meeting with Nigeria’s labour minister and the Nigeria Port Authority.

Adeyanju said “strong commitments to fix the roads were given”, adding: “We have therefore decided to suspend the strike following the fruitful deliberations we had with the government.

“We are calling on our members to continue with their work.”

The Lagos ports of Apapa and Tin Can Island handle more than 60 percent of Nigeria’s sea cargo and generate some 70 percent of customs revenue.

But the poor state of access roads and chronic gridlock has increasingly caused delays, prompting shipping companies and business to use alternative berths in neighbouring countries.

Port workers and users stuck in traffic have also become more vulnerable to attack from criminal gangs, the MWUN says.

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