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CBA lifts Nigerian dockworkers’ earnings to international standards, says Adeyanju

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The President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Adewale Adeyanju, has said the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) has helped in improving the condition of service of Nigerian dockworkers to the standards of their counterparts around the world.

Adeyanju stated this in Lagos during the union’s delegates’ conference last Friday where he was re-elected for a second term. While giving stewardship of his first four-year tenure in office, he said the union pursued the CBA negotiations for the enhancement of workers’ benefit across the four branches. The branches are the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Dockworkers, Shipping and Seamen branches.

According to him, the recent National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) agreement on a minimum standard for the Nigerian dock labour was championed by the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), which was signed by all parties concerned including the employers of Labour on Thursday 18th of March 2021.

“This CBA, I am proud to say, has lifted the standard of dockworkers to international standard,” he stated. The MWUN President General further called on the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), to expedite action on the issuance of biometric identity cards to Nigerian dockworkers to enable proper means of identifying registered dock labour at the nation’s ports.

Meanwhile, Adeyanju lamented the outsourcing of jobs by terminal operators to foreign nationals, just as the union is presently battling one of the port concessionaires, APM Terminals Apapa, for outsourcing security jobs in the terminal to a South African company.

He said the union has since issued a seven-day ultimatum to APM Terminals to withdraw this anti-people policy.

The MWUN President General stressed that the issue of outsourcing of jobs that are creditably performed by Nigerians to foreigners has become endemic in the Maritime sector.

He said the situation would undoubtedly send hundreds of Nigerian workers into the unemployment market while creating employment for foreign nationals.

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He warned that this has to stop forthwith as it is at variance with the Nigeria Labour law.

Adeyanju also lamented that more expatriates are employed than the Nigerian indigene to perform the same job with salary disparity in favour of the expatriate, which he said is “totally unacceptable.”

He, however, promised to consolidate on the achievements recorded by the union under his leadership in the past four years. He listed some of the achievements by the union to include: improvement in workers welfare, sustenance of peace in the port, stoppage of the Ports and Harbours bill, payment of severance package to tally clerks and onboard security men among others.

In her remarks, the Chairperson of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Princess Vicki Haastrup, commended Adeyanju for sustaining the peace and industrial harmony in the port, saying that dockworkers in Nigerian ports are now reformed and no longer what they used to be.

She assured that seaport terminal operators under her leadership will always see to the welfare of dockworkers.

Haastrup said: “The work of dockworkers is very key to port operations. If you don’t have good dockworkers, you cannot have good ports. They are the bedrock of our operation.

“So for STOAN, we appreciate you because if you down tool, the entire operation of seaports nationwide will come to a standstill. We want to ensure that our dockworkers are well taken care of. There must be good working conditions for all dockworkers in Nigeria.”

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The Director-General, NIMASA, Bashir Jamoh, who was represented by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage, Victor Ochei, expressed the agency’s commitment towards the training and retraining of dockworkers to acquire the relevant certifications, which will enable them to compete favourably with their foreign counterparts.

Also speaking at the conference, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ayuba Wabba, said the congress remains committed to the welfare of Nigerian workers.

He noted that the move by the Federal government to remove the national minimum wage from the exclusive legislative list to the concurrent legislative list will be resisted.

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