In a bid to ensure a better living standard for dock workers in the Nigeria maritime industry, the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) alongside other associations in the sector under the aegis of the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) have signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), which is intended to improve the welfare of dock workers in line with global best practices.
The agreement which was painstakingly documented involves increases in their wages and allowances and certain emoluments and benefits, which includes; payment of redundancy and retirement benefits by terminal operators to aged dockworkers, payment of specified allowances to a deceased dock worker’s next of kin and pension contribution scheme for dock workers among other items listed in the agreement.
Speaking during the signing ceremony of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) held in Lagos yesterday, the Chairman of the NJIC, Mr. Gambo Ahmed who is also the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA and equally represented the Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside at the occasion, noted that dock labour is an integral part of the maritime industry, hence the need to place priority on their welfare.
He urged operators to bear in mind that the welfare of the dock workers will impact a lot on ports operations and in turn the entire economy, hence the need to ensure that they are properly catered for. “When the welfare of the dockworkers’ are put into proper perspective, we will have a healthy maritime sector, thereby leading to the actualization of a robust economy,” he stated.
At the event, the Chairman of the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) Dr. (Mrs.) Vicky Haastrup stated that without the dock workers, there will be no ports, because the workers play a major role in economy of the ports, hence their welfare is paramount.
While commending NIMASA for its efforts in coordinating the NJIC, she observed that the initiative has brought about understanding among stakeholders in the ports and also given room for the peace and orderliness the maritime sector is enjoying. “We must all work together to ensure that the interest of the common dock worker is protected,” she said.
On his part, the President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju applauded the initiative and pleaded that all parties involved should endeavour to fulfill their obligations as contained in the agreement.
Accordingly, he stated that it has never been this good in the industry, but for the supervision of NIMASA through the NJIC initiative; the industry is witnessing a new dawn with this CBA that is being signed. He also used the opportunity to pledge that the leaders of the Union will continue to ensure the sustenance of peace and harmony in the maritime sector in the interest of the sector and the Nigeria economy as a whole.
The Chairman, Ports Consultative Council, Otunba Kunle Folarin and the President of the National Association of Stevedoring Companies, Mr. Bolaji Sunmola also joined in commending the efforts to maintain peace at the ports and called for continuous engagement, as it remains a panacea to a robust maritime sector.
In his vote of thanks, the Director, Maritime Labour Services of NIMASA, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril noted that NIMASA believes that all parties will ensure full implementation of the agreement and that this will help the Ease of Doing Business initiative of the Federal Government as well as improved turnaround time in all activities in the ports.
The NJIC is the body responsible for negotiating and reviewing of minimum standards for dock labour industry. It was constituted in 2008 following the need to establish minimum standards for the Dock Labour Industry after the ports were concessioned in 2006.
The Agency is statutorily empowered under section 27(1) (b) of NIMASA Act 2007 to facilitate the NJIC meetings and circulate signed Agreements to all concerned parties. Further to this, the Agency is also to ensure strict compliance on implementation of the CBA.