By Victor Ahiuma-Young
AS Organised Labour battles the federal and state governments over a N30,000 new national minimum wage, Dockworkers in the nation’s Maritime sector now have a reason to smile because the least paid among them now earns not less than N50,000 a month.
President-General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN, Adewale Adeyanju disclosed this while briefing a cross section of the Dockworkers at the Dockworkers’ Branch of the MWUN, on the Collective Bargaining Agreement, CBA, reached between the Terminal Operators and the Union.
The process leading to the CBA which took over six months, Adeyanju informed, was supervised by the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA.
According to him, “until now the dockworkers had no employers. When there were issues, the terminal operators would refer the workers to the Stevedoring contractors in attempts to avoid liabilities. The Stevedoring contractors on the other hand, would refer the workers back to the terminal operators. When they got sacked or lost their job to redundancy, they had no terminal and other benefits. But what this CBA has done is to make the terminal operators accept their responsibilities to the dockworkers. Today, the dockworkers have employers and are entitled to among others, terminal, redundancy, gratuity and hazard benefits as well as pension which is statutory.”
He noted that the CBA would go a long way to improving the living conditions of the dockworkers in all ports formations across the country.
While explaining the detail of the CBA, Adeyanju noted that “there are now differentials between 40ft containers and 20ft containers. They now have different rates. The same is applicable to those in Lashing Operations. Those on time related wage, have not less than 19 percent increment on their wages, meaning that the minimum take home in a month for any dockworker is N50,000. This is the beginning of better things to come.”
The President-General told the workers that the CBA also entailed disciplinary procedure for any worker who breached the CBA, advising the workers to be diligent in their duties and avoid running foul of the CBA to avoid sanctions or sack.