NIMASA advocates better living conditions for dock workers
By Silas Onuoha
The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has restated its commitment to the welfare of dock workers in the maritime industry, as the Agency organised a meeting of the employers and labour unions in the maritime sector under the aegis of National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) in Lagos.
The Chairman of NJIC, who is also the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, NIMASA, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, said that the initiative was with a view to using the tool of constant engagement to ensure that dock workers get better living conditions, in line with International Labour laws.
Gambo urged the operators to bear in mind that the welfare of dock workers will impact a lot on ports industry, and in turn, the entire economy, hence the need to ensure that they are properly catered for. “When the welfare of the dockworkers’ are put into proper perspective, we have a healthy maritime sector leading to actualisation of a robust economy”, the Chairman stated.
Also, the Director, Maritime Labour Services, NIMASA, Mr. Ibrahim Jibril, said that the new agreement will demonstrate the Agency’s commitment, which is in line with the theme of the 107th International Conference held in Geneva, “A future with Decent Work and also building a future for the Dock Labour Industry”.
He assured that the Agency has also put in place all necessary machineries towards ensuring a successful exercise in line with the provisions of the existing agreement and the demand for its review.
The Chairman, Ports Consultative Council (PCC), Otunba Kunle Folarin, who represented the Seaports Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) commended NIMASA for its role in maintaining the already existing peace in the ports industry. He expressed optimism that the negotiation will yield positive results, as all parties involved will work as a team to ensure that no dock worker is short-changed.
Other stakeholders at the meeting were the President General, Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, the President, National Association of Stevedoring Companies (NASC), Mr. Bolaji Sunmola, who unanimously agreed that they will all work harmoniously to sustain the peace in the industry. They also used that opportunity to assure NIMASA of their continuous support.
The NJIC is the body responsible for negotiating and reviewing of minimum standards for dock labour, which successfully reviewed the last Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that lapsed on May 31, 2018. The CBA is subject to review every two years.
The regulation of dock labour minimum standards is the statutory responsibility of the Agency, as enshrined in Section 27 (1) sub-sect (b) of NIMASA Act.