…. As maritime workers demand to know who regulates port terminal operators
By Ray Ugochukwu
The Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) on Friday in Lagos announced the setting up of a picketing committee that would help to address the grievances of its members with employers of labour.
Congress President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, made the announcement while on a visit to the Maritime Workers’Union of Nigeria (MWUN) headquarters in Olodi, Apapa.
Ajaero disclosed this while reacting to the complaints of his hosts led by Prince Adewale Adeyanju, the President General of the Union, who said they were confused as to who regulates the operations of terminal operators in the face of multiple agencies in the system.
The NLC boss, Ajaero, advised MWUN leadership to quickly write the Minister of Transportation, Hon. Mu’azu Jaji Sambo, to seek clarification over which agency handled the renewal of terminal operators’ contracts without jeopardizing the operations of Union members.
On the increment of salaries of staff of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), which also affected the retirees after much persuasion by the MWUN, Ajaero urged the PG and his team to ensure that the authority was made to sit with the Union to negotiate an appropriate amount commensurate with what they had lost since 18 years ago, with the loss of over 13,000 workers.
Adeyanju, Ajaero and others in a group photograph
“However, if they give us money as increment, we will thank them but tell them to sit with you and negotiate”, Ajaero said.
The new NLC boss, elected about a month ago, spoke glowingly about the glaring transformation that had taken place in MWUN.
Adeyanju, Deputy President, NLC
“I am happy to witness the transformation in this Union. As a journalist, I reported this Union for a long time and I can attest to this marvelous transformation”, Ajaero said.
He acknowledged that this was only possible because of the visionary leadership of Comrade Adeyanju as the President General, who happens to be his First Deputy President. He thanked him for his level of commitment and the hard work put in.
Earlier, while welcoming the NLC President on his maiden visit to the union headquarters, Comrade Adeyanju had demanded clarification from Transportation Minister, Sambo, on the confusion pervading the maritime industry over which government agency was in charge of terminal operators’ activities in the ports.
This lacuna, he claimed, stemmed from the complaint of the minister of the inability of the authorities to carry the Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC) in the renewal of terminal operators’licences in the ports.
Adeyanju used the opportunity of the visit to articulate some of his Union’s pressing challenges before the NLC President. They included International Oil Companies (I0C’s) blatant refusal to obey government Marine Notice 106 of 2014 and extant stevedoring regulations; and
refusal to pay aged seafarers monthly pension in spite of court ruling.
Container vessel in a port
Others, according to him, the restoration of registered on-board ship gangway
security and tally men (Pooling system). ”
Continuing, he said that the presence of on-board ship gangway men and tally clerks in port operation was statutory.
“This is supported by the Dock Labour Rule of 1967, the National Dock Labour Board established by decree No.13 of 1979, the Maritime Labour Act, 2003, Part IX. This position is further supported by the NIMASA Act, Part VII, Maritime Labour”, Adeyanju stated.
The First Deputy President of NLC informed his guest that MWUN had earlier forwarded a letter dated 5″ August, 2021 to the Minister of Transportation to demand for restoration of the Pool System for registered on-board gangway security men and tally men which, he believed, was receiving attention.
He also spoke on the need to awaken the dredging of Calabar, Warri and Port Harcourt ports.
Adeyanju called on Comrade Ajaero to ensure he looked into the issuance of Seafarers Sdentity Documents (S.1.D) to seamen.
He pointed out the need to ensure that a minimum standard condition of service was put in place for MWUN members in the shipping sector, as it was the practice for the Nigerian Ports Authority, dock labour and seafarers.
Prince Adeyanju assured his guest of MWUN’s commitment and unwavering support for his administration and the vision of hope his regime would bring to the Nigerian working class and allies.