• Friday, June 21, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

NIMASA promises dockworkers of improved welfare, working condition

NIMASA

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), has assured stakeholders of its commitment to protect the rights and welfare of dockworkers as guaranteed in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work Agenda.

Victor Ochei, executive director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA, gave the assurance in Lagos during a meeting of the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC).

A statement signed by Philip Kyanet, head, Corporate Communications of NIMASA stated that 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.

“Dockworkers are integral to efficient and effective stevedoring operation. The NJIC has remained resolute in ensuring harmonious working relationships through the principle of tripartism and the execution of Collective Bargaining Agreements on minimum standards for the dock labour industry,” Ochei stated.

Ochei, who is also the chairman of NJIC, commended the efforts of the dockworkers to keeping the maritime industry afloat, despite the outbreak COVID-19 pandemic.

He however called on the council members to cooperate with NIMASA towards ensuring meaningful negotiations that would culminate in the signing of another CBA. He stated that the Agency had made necessary arrangements for successful council proceedings.

Ochei said that the success of the exercise would further demonstrate Nigeria’s compliance and commitment to the ideals of the ILO Decent Work Agenda, which seeks to promote safe work, decent wage, and freedom of association.

Joyce Udoinwang, representative of the Federal Ministry of Labour, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to the 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.

Adewale Adeyanju, president-general of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), commended NIMASA for midwifing the CBA, saying it has ensured industrial harmony and peace in the maritime industry.

Adeyanju disclosed that the NJIC would reconvene in the next few weeks to deliberate and agree on new wages for dockworkers. He called for the cooperation of the terminal operators and employers of dock labour to ensure the attainment of the Decent Work Agenda for dockworkers.

“So far so good, the terminal operators and employers of dock labour are doing their best, but so much can still be done to better the welfare of their workers,” Adeyanju said.

Kunle Folarin, the representative of the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), applauded NIMASA for its role over the years to promote peace and harmonious labour relations in the industry.

Folarin said NJIC would cooperate with the Agency to sustain peace and sanity at the ports.

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, and making sure every employee gets an employment letter and a package of terminal benefits when their contract expires.