From left: President General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju; representative of Nigerian Ports Authority NPA, Mr. Charles Okaga; representative of Chairman, Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria STOAN, Otunba Kunle Folarin, Executive Director, Maritime Labour & Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Victor Ochei; Rep of Federal Ministry of Labour & Employment, Joyce Udoinwang and President, National Association of Stevedoring Companies, Bolaji Sunmola during the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) meeting on the Collective Bargaining Agreement for dock workers held recently in Lagos

The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency NIMASA has said it will stop at nothing in implementing the International Labour Organisation ILO standards on  Decent Work Agenda in terms of protecting the rights of the dockworkers in the country and ensuring their rights.

This is given the crucial role played by this category of port workers towards sustain the supply chain

 Executive Director, of the agency in charge of Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Victor Ochei, who gave this assurance, spoke at a meeting with the National Joint Industrial Council NJIC, which held in Lagos recently.

The meeting was primarily convened to discuss the revised minimum wage and improved living standards for dockworkers through the Collective Bargaining Agreement CBA initiative endorsed in 2018 by both parties.

Recall that the NJIC had in 2018, signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement with NIMASA, which expired May 31, 2020.

The CBA, is a two-year agreement, desined to ensure industrial peace in the maritime industry. It includes requirements for the fair treatment of dockworkers and principally ensures that every dockworker gets an employment letter and a package of terminal benefits at the end of his contract.

The ED argued that dockworkers are crucial to efficient and effective stevedoring operation and that the NJIC has remained resolute in ensuring harmonious working relationships through the principle of tripartism and the execution of CBA on minimum standards for the dock labour industry.

Ochei, who doubles as chairman of the NJIC, lauded the efforts of the dockworkers to keep the maritime industry working even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, and assured that agency would continue to promote the rights and welfare of the dockworkers.

He urged other members of the council to join hands 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.

“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”, Ochei also said.

Meanwhile, representative of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Joyce Udoinwang, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to the welfare of dockworkers, assuring that the ministry would do everything within its powers to ensure that dockworkers in Nigeria are shortchanged by any employer under any guise.

She also called for more cooperation from all the parties involved in the tripartite agreement.

President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, while speaking at the event, commended NIMASA for midwifing the CBA, arguing that this has brought about industrial harmony and peace in the maritime industry.

It was however gathered that the NJIC would reconvene in the next few weeks to deliberate and agree on new wage 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 of the ILO.

“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.

Representative of the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria STOAN, Otunba Kunle Folarin, commended NIMASA for the role it has played over the years to promote and ensure industrial peace and harmony in the dock labour segment of Nigeria’s maritime industry.

Folarin, who doubles as chairman of Seafarers’ Welfare Board and Port Consultative Council PCC said NJIC would cooperate with NIMASA to sustain peace and sanity at the seaports.

Also present at the meeting were the representative of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Mr. Charles Okaga, and President of National Association of Stevedoring Companies (NASC), Mr. Bolaji Sunmola. Both assured of their support towards improved welfare for seafarers.