Maritime workers petition Jonathan over alleged unpaid wages
… Threaten to shut down ports next week
Unless a number of issues, including the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) allegedly owing their members 11 months unpaid salaries, are promptly resolved, the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has threatened to shut down the ports by next week.
MWUN, in a petition dated June 12, 2013, and addressed to President Goodluck Jonathan, alleged that that the NPA had for the past 11 months not paid tally clerks, on-board security men and others.
MWUN accused the NPA of allegedly spending about N300 million monthly to pay cargo surveyors, who, according to the group, were allegedly illegal employees and have nothing to do in the ports.
MWUN gave the NPA up till next week Tuesday to clear the arrears of salaries of the tally clerks and on-board security men and also disengage the cargo surveyors, failing which the nation’s ports would be shut down indefinitely.
According to MWUN, dockworkers including tally clerks and on-board security men were registered by the National Dock Labour Board (NDLB) to work in the seaports, private terminals and jetties and were trained in the act of cargo handling/loading and discharging of ships.
MWUN explained that section 35 of the Nigeria Dock Labour Decree No 37 of 1999, which established the (defunct) Joint Dock Labour Industrial Council (JODLIC) described a dockworker as “a person registered under the Decree to perform duties connected with the loading and discharging of ships.”
MWUN posited that the cargo surveyors allegedly employed by the NPA are not known under the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Act 2007, which regulates maritime labour activities in Nigerian ports, hence not permitted by law to perform the role of registered tally clerks.
“On-board Security men are involved in watching over cargo to avoid theft and over boarding and to prevent unauthorised shore leave through the gangway by crew members. Their function also helps to prevent attack of vessels in the ports by terrorist and pirates in line with requirement of the ISPS (International Ship and Port Facility Security) Code on port and ship security and safety,” MWUN informed the President.
The petitioner added: “Tallying services is (sic) for the benefit of the ship, the cargo owners, the port and indeed the nation. That is why the ship/ship agent must countersign or stamp every cargo record from the ship. It is through physical recording of cargo landed that discrepancy can be detected. It is through Quay Apron Tallying that undeclared tonnage can be detected in the interest of national economy. It is the record of Tally Clerks that serve as evidence that the ship has delivered to the consignee’s nominated port destination.”