..As Adeyanju seeks legislation for annual celebration
The Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Bashir Jamoh, has charged employers of labor to enroll their dockworkers on contributory pension schemes.
Jamoh stated this at a dockworkers day event organised by the agency with the theme “Healthy Dockworker, Better Productivity”,
The event, which was held at the NPA Sports Ground in Lagos on Thursday presented an opportunity for stakeholders gathered not just to appreciate the efforts of Nigerian dockworkers at the center of the nation’s import-dependent economy, but also to focus on ways of improving their health and general well – being.
Jamoh also used the occasion to call on operators of Oil and Gas Terminals to allow only approved stevedores aboard their installations, to ensure compliance with relevant international guidelines and conventions.
Speaking he said,, “As we celebrate today, it is important to put in perspective the plight of dockworkers who spend the greater part of their working life at the ports, with little or nothing to show for it. As employers of labour, you must endeavour to put in place a Contributory Pension Scheme for dockworkers and ensure prompt remittances of both Employers and Employees contributions at the end of each month”.
Speaking on compliance with stevedore inspections, he stated, “This occasion presents me with an opportunity to express the need for operators in the private jetties and Oil & Gas Terminals to grant operational access to the Stevedoring Contractors appointed by the Honorable Minister of Transport, to carry out stevedoring activities in assigned operational areas”.
The President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, in his address, thanked the NIMASA Management for organizing the event to celebrate Nigerian dockworkers in recognition of the important role played by them.
Adeyanju, who is also the Vice President, Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) called on the national assembly to make legislation for dockworkers day to be held annually noting that without dockworkers, there cannot not be effective port operation.
He also commended dockworkers employers and the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) led by Princess Vicky Haastrup for their consistent support for the improvement and welfare of dock workers.
“Today is historic, as this celebration is indeed a day of liberation, this is because prior to the port’s concession of 2006, the Dockworkers had suffered different forms of dehumanization from the hands of relatively unknown employers, they were poorly paid and had no condition of service and more alarming, had no identifiable employer.
“Now, post concession, we have clearly identifiable employers under the umbrella of Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN). Consequent to this, dockworkers welfare packages in terms of remuneration, allowances and other privileges can now be firmly discussed in a collective Bargaining process, and the agreement when reached are then encompassed in the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
“Today’s event is expected to X-ray the challenges faced by the Dockworkers in their daily struggle and efforts toward Port efficiency and in the light of ever – improving technological driven economy. Hence, training and career is fundamental and provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is essential to protect them against various hazardous working conditions.
“It is instructive to note that the environment we operate in has posed dangers to our lives. For instance, the quay aprons at Apapa port complex are dilapidated and Tin Can Island Port Complex has collapsed due to long use while Port Harcourt port is aged and decrepit.
“On the port access road: the gridlock has an effect on various aspects of the Maritime Industry’s activity with wide ranging negative impacts on both vehicular, cargo and human movement within and outside ports.
“On this note we wish to call on the relevant authorities to expedite action in rehabilitating and finding a lasting solution to the bad state of port access roads in all port formations nationwide. Special note should be taken of Onne Port access road which is in a state of decay. On the side we wish to remind the federal government of the need to resuscitate the pool system of Tally clerks and on board gangway security men,” he said.
Adeyanju expressed appreciation to the Managing Director of NPA, Mohammed Bello Koko and his management team for the developments they have brought into Nigerian Ports which has made life more meaningful and enjoyable to dock workers, while urging the Minister of Marine and Blue Economy, Gboyega Oyetola to expedite action on the issues raised.
Iattendance at the event were representatives from the Federal Ministry of Labour and Productivity; Nigerian Ports Authority; Seaport Terminal Operators Association and the National Association of Stevedoring Operators (NASA).
Internationally, July 7th is marked as ‘The Global Day of Action’ and is organized by the International Dockworkers’ Council (IDC) and International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF). It aims to raise awareness of port working conditions and emphasize the importance of collective bargaining rights.
Recall that the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN) organised the maiden edition of the dockworkers Day on September 7, 2023.
R-L: Director General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, Dr. Bashir Jamoh; Port Manager, Apapa Port, Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, Charles Okaga; President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju; and Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services NIMASA, Engr. Victor Ochei during the Dockworkers day celebration in Lagos.