By DAPO OLAWUNI
President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has said that the port concessioning exercise of 2006 has made the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) richer, even as it has benefited the dockworkers.
Comrade Adeyanju in a recent chat with journalists in his office noted that dockworkers at Nigerian ports now enjoy pensions, gratuity and a single Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) by terminal operators.
According to him, this was not the situation few years ago when NPA was in charge of management of the port system.
Under NPA management, the MWUN PG said the port was a free for all where stealing and violence was the order of the day.
“In those days, dockworkers were used as solder-hires, they are urged to work for their money, nobody regulates or supervises them, stealing was the order of the day because they were not well paid, but today, there is nothing like that anymore because we have CBA for them, today the dockworkers are pensionable and entitled to their gratuity”
“The port concessioning favored some people while some were not favored, those that have been benefitting before are the ones complaining now, but an average dockworkers in the port who doesn’t have pension or gratuity, it favours them. The concessioning has reduced infighting and violence at the port”
“You cannot leave your terminal today and cause trouble in another terminal, meanwhile this was the order of the day in the past”
“All the terminal operators now have a single CBA for their dockworkers and this has helped a lot”
“The NPA are even more richer now than when they were the ones managing the port. What is going on at the port now is landlord port operations”
“This is why we are advising the government not to sack the existing terminal operators, a terminal that has existed for fifteen years is no longer a baby, it must have contributed its quoter to the development of Nigerian Ports and to Nigeria”
“The man you are bringing onboard may not be able to obey the existing agreements, this is why the union is saying that we prefer to manage our old wives than marry new ones” he said
Comrade Adeyanju called on terminal operators to ensure that they motivate their workers with incentives in order to motivate them to carryout their duties.
According to him “If the workers are well paid, they would be happy and they would perform their duty, in terms productivity, a worker that is not well paid, management should not expect anything from them, even if you threaten them, they would sabotage that job”
“This is why we are urging management to look inwards and make sure that they empower their workers by way of giving them more remuneration and incentives, this is what drives productivity”