NIMASA, STOAN, MWUN Sign Collective Bargaining Agreement
.Dock labour gets new lease of life
By Udeme Clement
In a bid to ensure a better living standard for dock workers in the maritime industry, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, and other associations under the aegis of National Joint Industrial Council, NJIC, have signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, intended to improve the welfare of dock workers in line with global best practice.
The agreement, which was painstakingly documented involves increase in wages, allowances, certain emoluments and benefits. These include payment of redundancy and retirement benefits by terminal operators to aged dockworkers, payment of specified allowances to deceased dock worker’s next of kin and pension contribution scheme for dock workers among other items listed in the agreement.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of the Collective Bargaining Agreement, held in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman of NJIC, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, who is also the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA, noted that dock labour is an integral part of maritime industry, hence the need to place priority on their welfare.
Ahmed who represented the Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside at the occasion, urged operators to bear in mind that the welfare of dock workers would impact a lot on ports operations and in turn, the entire economy, hence the need to ensure that they are properly catered for.
He said,“When the welfare of dockworkers’ are put into proper perspective, we would have a healthy maritime sector, thereby leading to the actualisation of a robust economy” .
At the programme, the Chairman STOAN, Dr. Vicky Haastrup stated that without dock workers, there would be no ports, because they play a major role in economy of the ports, hence their welfare is paramount.
While commending NIMASA for its efforts in coordinating the NJIC, she observed that the initiative has brought about understanding among stakeholders in the ports, giving room for peace and orderliness that the maritime sector is enjoying.
“We must all work together to ensure that the interest of the common dock worker is protected, ”she said.
On his part, the President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju applauded the initiative and pleaded that all parties involved should endeavour to fulfill their obligations as contained in the agreement.
Accordingly, he stated that it has never been this good in the industry, but for the supervision of NIMASA through NJIC initiative; the industry is witnessing a new dawn with the CBA being signed. He also used the opportunity to pledge that leaders of the Union would continue to promote peace in the sector, to enhance economic growth and development.
The Chairman, Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin and the President of National Association of Stevedoring Companies, Mr. Bolaji Sunmola also joined in commending the efforts to maintain peace at the ports, calling for continuous engagement, as a panacea to a robust maritime sector.
Also speaking, the Director, Maritime Labour Services of NIMASA, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril said NIMASA believes that all parties would ensure full implementation of the agreement. This, he said, would promote the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the Federal Government, as well as improved turnaround time in all activities in the ports.
NJIC is the body responsible for negotiating and reviewing minimum standards for dock labour industry. It was constituted in 2008, following the need to establish minimum standards for the Dock Labour Industry after the ports were concessioned in 2006.
The Agency is statutorily empowered under section 27(1) (b) of NIMASA Act 2007 to facilitate the NJIC meetings and circulate signed Agreements to all concerned parties. Further to this, the Agency is also to ensure strict compliance on implementation of the CBA.