Strike: We’re not employer’s association, says SAN…Calls for continuous dialogue
Chairman, Shipping Lines Association of Nigeria SAN, Mrs. Boma Alabi SAN OON.
Ahead the indefinite strike declared by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUNwith effect from Monday, June 5, 2023,the Shipping Lines Association of Nigeria SAN, has called for continuous dialogue, saying the association is not an employer’s association and therefore not authorised to negotiate workers’ emoluments.
Chairman of the association, Mrs. Boma Alabi OON, SAN in a statement in reaction of the proposed strike, noted that the association is a voluntary organisation of shipping line agencies operating in Nigeria and that its membership does not include the entire employers in the shipping and freight forwarding industry in the country.
According to her, allegation by the leadership of MWUN that its members are not meeting minimum standards of employment and insinuating that working for SAN members is tantamount to modern day slavery is totally false, misleading and unacceptable.
While also faulting the efforts of the leadership of MWUN to unilaterally and solely engage the association on matters relating to minimum standards of employment in the industry, she insists that such efforts should be redirected to the shipping, ship agencies, clearing and forwarding employers’ associations, which is the employers association recognised by law and duly registered with the Ministry of Labour and therefore being the umbrella association of all employers in the Maritime Industry.
She also disclosed that the Federal Ministry of Labour at the instance of MWUN, mandated the Nigerian Shippers Council to convene several meetings between the MWUN and all employers in the shipping industry, adding that the most recent one was held on May 31, 2023 and was mediated by the council.
She further argued that since SAN as an organisation is voluntary and not an employer’s association, it does not have any mandate to discuss terms and benefits of members’ employees as it does not share common Collective Bargaining Agreement CBA between members of the MWUN.
The Senior Advocate disclosed that the terms and conditions of employment among members of SAN are among the very best for junior staff cadre both within the industry and other employment sectors in in the country.
She said: “SAN is indeed proud to observe that the average emoluments of our members’ workers is in the range of N500, 000 per month, with added benefits like Leave allowance, Christmas bonus, performance bonus, education allowance, full medical cover for the employee and family members. Our workers also benefit from end of service gratuities well over and above the statutory contributory National Pension fund.
“Typically, as well, employers will make additional ex gratia payments over and above the transport allowances paid as part of the CBA towards transport costs when the situation in Apapa becomes difficult for our commuting workers. In addition, typical salary increment annually is to be above inflation.”
The Chairman insists that while the association fully supports the concept of minimum standards of employment in all sectors, it believes that its members are already exceeding any minimum standard benchmark that might have been subsequently been established
According to her, it is an open secret that the welfare of its employees is of utmost concern to the members and would therefore make it a priority in all its dealings.
The statement reads in part: “The attention of the Shipping Lines Association of Nigeria has been drawn to certain erroneous publications or deliberate misinformation especially regarding its role in the Maritime or the country’s Shipping Industry which is causing threat of strike action by the Maritime Workers Union. of Nigeria.
“Let me take this opportunity to explain for the umpteenth time that the Shipping Association of Nigeria is not an employer’s association and its membership is voluntary and does not include the entire employers in the shipping and freight forwarding industry.
“It can, therefore, simply be noticed that the Shipping Association of Nigeria is not an employer’s association and does not have any mandate to discuss terms and benefits of our employees as it does not share common Collective Bargaining Agreement between MWUN members.
We at SAN, therefore strongly object to a statement made in the National Press, allegedly from the MWUN accusing the Shipping Lines Association of Nigeria of not meeting minimum standards of employment and insinuating that working for SAN members is tantamount to modern day slavery. We find this statement directly in conflict with the reality in the industry and advise that care should always be taken not to smear the name of SAN and bring the industry in general into disrepute.”