Stakeholders caution against sack of 3,000 dockworkers
STAKEHOLDERS in the maritime sector have cautioned against reported plan to sack no fewer than 3000 Dockworkers from the nation’s seaports.
In a statement issued through the Maritime Watchdog, an advocacy group on maritime matters, the stakeholders warned that the proposed sack if implemented, might hurt the nation’s fragile economy and ignite industrial unrest.
The stakeholders in the statement issued by its Secretary and Legal Adviser, Macjohnson Odey, argued that it was saddening to note that some persons with ulterior motives could put forward the proposal for the sacking of “tally clerks and onboard security men” at terminals and replace them with “cargo Surveyors.”
They argued that it was on record that the responsibilities of tally clerks and onboard security men, were very different from that of “cargo surveyors”, adding that the underlining motive for the planned sack unacceptable.
Listing local and international codes supporting the presence of tally clerks and onboard security men in the ports, Maritime Watchdog said: “The role of tally clerks in any Maritime industry is to physically count and tally the goods declared by importers when their ships berth at port”, said the statement.
It added: “This is a specialised job and requires specific training, and most importantly, the job is the soul of revenue for government from the maritime sector. A tally clerk is like a revenue police, he makes sure he counts and confirms physically all goods imported, and juxtapose them with what is declared on the bill of lading.
“Where tally clerks are not available, where they fail to do their jobs, or where their jobs are done wrongly, any of the following implications may occur;
“Our position on this issue is that we cannot mortgage our future, to the hands of persons who have no intention of seeing beyond their noses when making policies and decisions that would better the lives of the workers as well as the lives of Nigerians. We have the following recommendations as options that can be applied instead of sacking all tally clerks, destroying the future of this country and sabotaging the economy: There should be no sack of tally clerks, and even where they cannot work under the concessionaires, the NPA should redeploy and reabsorb them in other departments.”
According to the statement: “The Convention which was ratified by our National Assembly, should be followed to the letter and in its entirety and not the ones that only satisfies the Authorities.
“This would include negotiations with relevant unions of both employer and employee organisations to achieve implementable resolutions that would stem tensions and avert crises. The Minister for Labour and Productivity, as well as the Ministry of Labour should wade into this matter and protect the rights of these workers.
“Every tally clerk be identified and registered, screened and trained as prescribed by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act 2007.
“These tally clerks be re-orientated as well as motivated to know the importance of their role at the Ports of this country and how a neglect of their duty affects the entire Nigeria.
“Tally clerks should be removed from under any 3rd party contractor as Terminal Owner to ensure that he is not influenced to sabotage the economy.”