The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria has issued a warning to employers of labour in the industry against cutting salaries and allowances in the name of COVID-19.

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The President of the union, Adewale Adeyanju, gave this warning in a May Day message on Friday, saying that any attempt to do so would be resisted by the union.

Adeyanju said workers did not deserve to be punished for the COVID-19 lockdown since it was not their fault.

He said the union had received information that some managements in the ports had issued internal memos on a planned pay cut.

He said, “In very clear terms, we condemn this attempt to turn workers’ right on its head for the pecuniary gains of management without recourse to normal consideration and processes.

“We find it strange that workers will be subjected to punishment for a situation that is entirely out of their scope of control.

“This we will resist and resist with all the arsenals at our disposal within the ambit of the law. Any management considering such gimmick is hereby put on notice.

“Most disheartening is the attempt by same unscrupulous management to cut the salaries, wages and allowance of our members without any probable cause.”

The MWUN helmsman said the union was one with the Nigeria Labour Congress, which “has acknowledged that despite the known fact that workers produce capital, they are always relegated and at the receiving end,”

He supported the NLC on the declaration that any move to deduct the salaries, wages, allowances and downsising of Nigerian workforce at this time was illegal and therefore must be resisted.

Adeyanju noted that maritime workers were mostly on the frontline, adding that there was a need to safeguard their lives while on essential duty.

The union also sought to be included in the already set up COVID-19 Ports Committee.

“We suggest that the mandate of the committee be inclusive of the continuous review of preventive measures for the workforce and monitoring of all protocols so that all changes are implemented with the appropriate collective bargaining agreements and labour relations structure,” Adeyanju said.

He also urged the Federal Government and its partners to expedite work on the construction of the port access roads, saying that work has since been halted.