Chief Emeka Wogu, Labour Minister
The Federal Government is poised to establish strict rules and regulations to curb contract staffing and casualisation of Nigerian workers in the maritime industry.
Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, said this in Abuja at the unveiling of the Headquarters of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and fund raising for Maritime Workers Estate in Lagos, where he lauded the union for having always worked with the government and rarely embarking on strikes.
He lamented that although cases of casualisation in the industry are at the barest minimum, contract staffing remains prevalent and a guideline would be set to curtail the practice, just as it was done in the banking, telecommunications, oil and gas industry.
“After oil and gas, we have maritime services and both of them complement each other. You move the oil through the sea and most of our goods coming into this country come in through high sea, so they occupy very strategic position in the economics of this country, they are part of development of this country and they have been part of economic development of this country,” Wogu said.
The Minister sought the cooperation of the union in the transformation agenda of President Goodluck Jonathan and the bid to economically develop Nigeria through job creation and poverty reduction policies.
The President General of the MWUN, Mr. Anthony Nted, in his opening address, raised the alarm at the activities of the offshore operators, which he said goes against the rules and regulations of Nigeria.
The operators, he said, do not pay the statutory monies they are required to pay; thereby short-changing the country and its economy.
“Over 5,500 members of the union have been trained abroad and locally at a high cost on our lean resources. The management of NPA and NlMASA also collaborated with the union on few occasions. These enlightenment drive and aggressive training programmes which are still ongoing have yielded noticeable dividends in our seaports, giving rise to the prevailing industrial and productive peace in our seaports,” Nted said, while outlining the achievements of the union.
The union, he said, has also embarked on other social/welfare schemes for the workers in the lower income bracket who constitute the majority of terminal operations workforce.
“No wonder our port terminal operators and other employers are now harvesting comparatively greater profits in their business. We have a welfare scheme fund - a revolving loan scheme from which port workers can access soft loans at very low interest rate for self developmental ventures; the union purchased over fourteen operational buses for most districts for the workers use,” Nted disclosed.