By Eromosele Abiodun
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has assured stakeholders of its commitment to the protection of the rights and welfare of dockworkers as guaranteed in the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work Agenda.
The agency’s executive director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Victor Ochei, gave the assurance in Lagos during a meeting of the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC).
The meeting discussed a revised minimum wage and improved living standard for dockworkers through the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) initiative endorsed by NIMASA and NJIC in 2018.
Ochei said: “Dockworkers are integral to efficient and effective stevedoring operation and the NJIC has remained resolute in ensuring harmonious working relationships through the principle of tripartism and the execution of Collective Bargaining Agreements on minimum standards for the dock labour industry.”
Ochei, who is also Chairman of NJIC, extolled the efforts of the dockworkers to keep the maritime industry afloat, despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said NIMASA was determined to ensure the dockworkers got what was due to them.
He called on the council members to cooperate with NIMASA towards ensuring meaningful negotiations that would culminate in the signing of another CBA.
He stated that the Agency had made necessary arrangements for successful council proceedings.
He added that the success of the exercise would further demonstrate Nigeria’s compliance and commitment to the ideals of the ILO Decent Work Agenda, which seeks to promote safe work, decent wage, and freedom of association.
The representative of the Federal Ministry of Labour, Mrs. Joyce Udoinwang, expressed the Ministry’s commitment to the welfare of dockworkers, assuring of its resolve to ensure no dockworker in Nigeria is short-changed. Udoinwang appealed for more cooperation from all the parties involved in the tripartite agreement.
In his remarks, President-General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, commended NIMASA for midwifing the CBA, adding that it has ensured industrial harmony and peace in the maritime industry.
Adeyanju disclosed that the NJIC would reconvene in the next few weeks to deliberate and agree on new wages for dockworkers.
Speaking also at the meeting, the representative of the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), Otunba Kunle Folarin, applauded NIMASA for its role over the years to promote peace and harmonious labour relations in the industry.
Folarin said NJIC would cooperate with the Agency to sustain peace and sanity at the ports.