NIMASA Assures Dockworkers of better Welfare
* Meets NJIC on Collective Bargaining Agreement
*As MWUN President lauds initiative
By Udeme Clement :
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has assured stakeholders of its commitment to protection of the rights and welfare of dockworkers as guaranteed in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work Agenda.
The Agency’s Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Victor Ochei, gave the assurance in Lagos during a meeting of the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC).
The meeting discussed a revised minimum wage and improved living standard for dockworkers through the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) initiative endorsed by NIMASA and NJIC in 2018.
Ochei stated, “Dockworkers are integral to efficient and effective stevedoring operation and NJIC remains resolute in ensuring harmonious working relationships through the principle of tripartism and execution of Collective Bargaining Agreements on minimum standards for dock labour industry.”
Ochei, who is also Chairman of NJIC, extoled the efforts of dockworkers to keep the maritime industry afloat, despite COVID-19 pandemic.
He said, “NIMASA is determined to ensure that dockworkers get what is due to them”.
The Executive Director called on the council members to cooperate with NIMASA towards ensuring meaningful negotiations that will culminate in the signing of another CBA. He stated that the Agency had made necessary arrangements for successful council proceedings.
He added that the success of the exercise will further demonstrate Nigeria’s compliance and commitment to ideals of the ILO Decent Work Agenda, which seeks to promote safe work, decent wage, and freedom of association.
The representative of Federal Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Joyce Udoinwang, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to welfare of dockworkers, assuring of its resolve to ensure no dockworker in Nigeria is short-changed. Udoinwang appealed for more cooperation from all the parties involved in the tripartite agreement.
President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his own remarks, commended NIMASA for midwifing the CBA, saying it has ensured industrial harmony and peace in the maritime industry. Adeyanju disclosed that the NJIC will reconvene in the next few weeks to deliberate and agree on new wages for dockworkers. He called for cooperation of terminal operators and employers of dock labour to ensure the attainment of the Decent Work Agenda.
“So far, so good, the terminal operators and employers of dock labour are doing their best. So much can still be done to better the welfare of their workers,” Adeyanju said.
Speaking also at the meeting, the representative of the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Otunba Kunle Folarin, applauded NIMASA for its role over the years to promote peace and harmonious labour relations in the industry. Folarin said NJIC will cooperate with the Agency to sustain peace and sanity at the ports.
Other members of NJIC, who were at the meeting, include the representative of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Charles Okaga, and President of National Association of Stevedoring Companies (NASC), Mr. Bolaji Sunmola. Both assured of their support towards improved welfare for seafarers.
Recall that in 2018, NJIC signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement with NIMASA that elapsed on May 31, 2020. The CBA, which is for a two-year period, is intended to ensure industrial peace in the maritime industry. It involves requirements for the fair treatment of dockworkers, principally, making sure every employee gets an employment letter and a package of terminal benefits when their contract expires.