THE Federal Government has given indication of its plan to issue strict guidelines to regulate and curb the prevailing issues of contract staffing and casualisation in the maritime industry, even as the Maritime Workers union of Nigeria, MWUN said welfare of maritime workers remained central objective for its existence.
Speaking at the commissioning of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria liaison building , Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu said though, cases of casualisation were less reported in the sector, cases of contract staffing are very prevalent and of concern to the government.
Presently, the minister said the government was doing the same in the banking sector and the communication sector, assuring that it would be extended to the maritime sector, which would be the focus of his ministry from now.
Chief Wogu said: “Casualisation in the oil and gas industry has been taken care of by my ministry and we are working on the Banking sector and the Telecommunication sector. By the nature of the job, Maritime Workers Union, apart from being in the public sector, they are also in the private sector.
There are less reported cases of casualisation, but a lot of contract staffing is going on in that sector and very soon we are coming to regulate that sector the way we did in oil and gas sector and the way we are now doing in the banking and telecommunication sectors, so that there will be basic guidelines that will take care of those cases of contract staffing in that sector.
The regulation and the guideline, according to him is necessary because of the economic importance of the sector to the development of the country, saying that Maritime Workers occupy a very strategic position in the economic development of the country and have contributed immensely towards it.
Speaking, President-General of MWUN, Comrade Anthony Nted, said the welfare of members was the central activity of the union
According to him, “the Union has also embarked on other social/welfare schemes for the workers in the lower income bracket who constitute the vast majority of terminal operations workforce.
This include the establishment of port workers 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, (an important service which some employers are reluctant to provide.”