By Godwin Oritse
FOLLOWING the lull in cargo traffic and the downturn in the nation’s economy, the National Joint Industrial Council, NJIC, and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, have agreed to discontinue further negotiations for the increment of wages of dock workers.
The decision was reached at the inaugural meeting of the NJIC which met at the NIMASA office in Lagos.
The meeting, which was presided over by the Executive Director Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Mr. Gambo Ahmed, noted that the dwindling fortunes in global shipping which has affected vessel traffic to Nigeria, has negatively impacted the fortunes of Sea Ports and Terminal Operators of Nigeria, STOAN.
The Council observed that the economic downturn has caused some operators to lay off workers and in order to stem the tide of retrenchment, it was necessary to discontinue the negotiation on wage increment until the situation improves.
Ahmed commended Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, for showing maturity and understanding of the situation and charged STOAN members to reciprocate this gesture when the economic situation improves.
Comrade Emmanuel Anthony Nted, President General, MWUN, in his contribution said the union understands the economic situation and so there is no need to demand for increment.
He, however, called on the terminal operators to show understanding when the situation improves and the union calls for a negotiation of wage increase for dockworkers.
He said:”I therefore call on all Council members to cooperate with the agency towards ensuring meaningful negotiations aimed at the signing of a reviewed collective bargain agreement on dock labour minimum standards.”
The NJIC which is comprised of MWUN, STOAN, National Association of Stevedoring Companies, NASC, Jetty and Tank Farm Owners Association of Nigeria and chaired by NIMASA is saddled with the responsibility of negotiating and reviewing minimum standards for dock labour industry in Nigeria.