The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has said that the enthronement of a regime of industrial peace and harmony would boost activities in the maritime industry and ultimately lead to the growth and development of the national economy.

The NIMASA Act 2007, which fused the functions of the defunct Government Inspectorate of Shipping and those of the Joint Maritime Industrial Labour Council JOMALIC, empowers the agency to regulate labour issues in the industry

Executive Director of the agency in charge of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, who spoke during the signing of the National Joint Industrial Council NJIC agreement for dockworkers between the terminal operators and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN, at the NIMASA headquarters in Lagos at the weekend, said that industrial peace and harmony would boost activities in the industry and thereby engender growth and development.

The newly signed agreement which is for a period of two years is intended to ensure industrial peace in the industry as it encompasses fair treatment of dockworkers by ensuring that every employee gets an employment letter and a package of retirement benefits when their contract expires which has not been the case in recent past with some terminal operators.  

The Executive Director, who doubles as chairman of the NJIC said that there was an urgent need for understanding between the workers and employers of labour in the industry, most especially during this period of economic recession where everyone needs to be accommodating.

He however assured the stakeholders in the industry that NIMASA was more than ever committed to promoting a friendly and healthy working environment in the industry with a view to facilitating maritime trade and investment not only to boost Federal Government’s revenue but also grow the nation’s economy.

Meanwhile, chairperson of Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria STOAN, Princess Vicky Haastrup, who also spoke at the event, commended NIMASA for initiating and monitoring the processes that ensured that peace and harmony exist among the various stakeholders in the nation’s seaport industry.

“Nigeria has never had it so good, the atmosphere in and around the ports has made it so conducive for everyone to carry out his or her business and this is because NIMASA has always brought the issues of welfare of dockworkers to the front burner”, Haastrup said.

President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN, Comrade Anthony Nted, while speaking at the event, said that NIMASA should also be commended for the new harmonious working relationship between terminal operators and workers in the ports;

He assured that the union willing to abide by the provisions and letters of the new agreement between labour and the terminal operators and also urged other parties to the agreement to do likewise.

A highpoint of the event was the presentation of a brand new Toyota Hiace bus to the union by NIMASA to enhance inspections of terminals by the leadership of the union.

The NIMASA ED had while handing over the bus to the Union, had urged the leadership to impress on its members to be law abiding, assuring them of the unflinching support of the Federal Government to ensure fairness as regards labour matters in the industry.

Director General of NIMASA, Dr. Dakuku Peterside, had in line with the agency’s commitment to the welfare of maritime workers in Nigeria in tandem with global best practice, recently insisted that a labourer deserves his wage and therefore argued that the dockworker in all the seaports in the country must be given their due wage and allowances.