After spending eight years going back and forth and delaying on the signing, the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) yesterday signed the much awaited conditions of service andCollective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for Nigerian seafarers.
The signing ceremony took place at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) in Apapa Lagos.
Speaking at the event, Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Dr. Dakuku Peterside the newly signed condition of service is a minimum standard in line with international standards and regulations.
Peterside who was represented at the signing by the Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Alhaji Gambo Ahmed urged all shipowners and seafarers employers to ensure that they comply with the new regulations.
Recall that the seafarers unions namely; Merchant Navy Senior Staff Association, Maritime Workers Union, have severally alleged that their employers deliberately refused to attend various meetings called on several occasions to conclude and append their signatures to the agreement.
The Union lamented that the ship owners seem not to be interested in implementation of the agreement and were working to frustrate it for the past eight years.
But speaking at the signing yesterday, Peterside said the CBA for fishing sector had earlier been signed and the signing of the Coastal and Offshore sectors means that NJIC have completed CBA for the Nigerian Seafarers.
“As an agency, we are happy to midwife this process that will enhance the welfare of our seafarers. I wish to commend the Seafarer Employers in the Offshore and Coastal sectors for their cooperation and understanding in seeing through the whole process”
“In the same vein, i wish to implore them to also ensure that the CBA which is meant to guide Shipowners in their tripartite negotiation and the development of all employment agreement is implemented as endorsed”
“it is important to note that the conditions of service of the CBA is a minimum standard in line with the national, extant and international regulations and must be met by all employers of seafarers”
“Employers are to note that the enhancement of welfare of seafarer will in turn enhance productivity and effective job performance”
“I am also to reiterate that the responsibility of Implementing the new condition of service is a collective one which must be given priority attention” he said
Also speaking with journalists at the end of the meeting, President of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) Eng Matthew Alalade lamented that the delay in signing the CBA caused a lot of disaffections among Nigerian seafarers and their employers.
The unionist hinted that the newly signed CBA centred mainly on the welfare of the seafarers and implementation of the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC 2006).
“We thank God that it has come to pass now, but what we want is that it shouldn’t be so long like this, it took us an extra two years to come to today’s reality”
“We hope that NIMASA will henceforth monitor the process and let it come when it is due, it should be reviewed immediately”
“The CBA is causing a lot of disaffections among our members, so we want the shipowners to corporate with the workers so that they can have a good working relationship that will enhance productivity, without this, there would be disaffection in the industry and our seafarers will not be happy”
“However with this signing, it will make our minds to be at rest”
“In some cases of the female seafarers, they should be given a ray of hope in the maritime industry, this is in addition to the welfare of the seafarers”
“This review was prolonged for a long time, but the promising factor now is that NIMASA has asked every shipowners to decide their rates with the seafarers and the union, when the seafarers are in distress, the union is in distress, and when they are robust, we are also robust”
President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Com Adewale Adeyanju was also represented at the signing ceremony by Deputy President, Douglas Eromobor.