Recession: Dockworkers forego salary increase

L-R: Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and Chairman National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC), Gambo Ahmed; President-General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Emmanuel Anthony Nted; and Director, Maritime Labour Services of NIMASA, Mrs Juliana Gunwa at the inaugural meeting of the NJIC in Lagos on Friday.

In an apparent show of solidarity with terminal operators who are battling to stay afloat as a result of low ships and cargo volume at the ports, leaders of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have decided to shelve negotiations for an upward review of dockworkers’ salaries.

This decision was announced by the labour leaders on Friday at the inaugural meeting of the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) held at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA).

The NJIC meeting was chaired by the Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA, Gambo Ahmed.

The NJIC noted that the dwindling fortunes in global shipping which has affected vessel traffic to Nigeria has negatively impacted the fortunes of members of the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN).

The Council observed that the economic downturn has caused some operators to lay off workers and in order to stem the tide of retrenchment, it was necessary to discontinue the negotiation on wage increment until the situation improves.

MWUN President-General, Comrade Emmanuel Anthony Nted, said the union understands the economic situation in the country, which has negatively affected port operators.

He however called on the terminal operators to show consider reviewing the workers wages when the situation at the port improves.

Ahmed commended all parties to the agreement for their show of maturity and called on them to show greater collaboration in order to move the Nigerian maritime industry forward.

“I therefore call on all Council members to cooperate with the agency towards ensuring meaningful negotiations aimed at the signing of a reviewed collective bargain agreement on dock labour minimum standards,” he said.

The NJIC which is composed of MWUN, STOAN, National Association of Stevedoring Companies (NASC), Jetty and Tank Farm Owners Association of Nigeria and chaired by NIMASA is saddled with the responsibility of negotiating and reviewing minimum standards for the dock labour industry in Nigeria.

The inaugural NJIC meeting was attended by all members and monitored by officials of the Federal Ministry of Transportation and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment.

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