How Shipping Companies in Nigeria Maltreat Port Workers—Comrade Adeyanju
…Union Demands 40% Increase in Workers Pay
By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have lamented the ordeals Nigerian workers are going through in the hands of foreign shipping companies operating in the country, especially poor remuneration and bad welfare packages.
President General of the union, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju stated this in Lagos on Thursday at a Seminar and Award Presentation ceremony organized by the Shipping Branch Women Wing of the union with theme; Women in Unionism: Balancing Work, Family and Health.
Comrade Adeyanju revealed that retirement in some shipping companies in Nigeria is like a death sentence for the workers, because their benefits after working forty years is nothing to write home about.
According to him, impunity has been the order of the day in the shipping companies, whereby a staff could be on one scale for fifteen years without promotion.
He sounded a wake-up call to the umbrella body of all the shipping companies in Nigeria; Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) to wake up to its responsibilities, adding that the union is ready to negotiate another Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for it’s members.
DAILY TREND learnt that the CBA of the shipping workers is done yearly.
Comrade Adeyanju warned that this time around, the union is settling for nothing less than 40% increase in the workers salary.
He said the union is renewing it’s ultimatum to the shipping companies, and action would be taken if they fail to yield.
“I want to use this opportunity to emphasize the welfare of the shipping workers, we are renewing our call for a good condition of service in the shipping sector.
The workers have contributed their quota to the development of this great country, but their remuneration is not encouraging.
“What the union is saying is that, there is need for us to have a minimum standard in shipping, where somebody has put in 30 to 40 years as a worker in the shipping sector, but his take home after retirement is nothing to write home about.
“I want to appeal to the Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) to wake up to this address, the right of the shipping workers should be given to them.
“The maritime workers union of Nigeria would go out there and ensure that the right of the shipping workers is given to them. Several untimatum have been issued to the shipping companies, but they refused to honor our ultimatum” he said
Adeyanju who was addressing Managing Directors, Directors, Human Resources Managers of various shipping companies who gathered for the event on Thursday, warned that in the next one month, if care is not taken, the union would renew it’s ultimatum.
“The excuses the shipping companies were giving was COVID-19, but this is no longer tenable, they should stop replying on COVID-19 as an excuse to deny the legitimate right of the shipping workers, they should not use excuse of the Naira going down because they don’t want to pay.
“The Naira is going down but they workers are doing a good job for your company, so you need to do the right thing”
He urged SAN to reconvene meeting with the union to negotiate the workers welfare.
“Retirement in the shipping sector is like a death sentence, our life must not be mortgaged by some employers of labour who have no regard for Nigerian workers in Shipping, the workers have suffered, they have contributed immensely, and their welfare should be improved upon, enough is enough.
“We are not going to accept 5% or 2% again in negotiation, these are viruses, we won’t accept it again.
The shipping companies are using monies made from Nigeria to go and develop their own country.
“They have all the resources at their disposal, but how many of them have organized training programs for their workers?
“This is a message to the shipping companies, I have told my branch president of shipping branch, in this coming negotiations, we are talking about 40% or 50% and above. If they tell you that they are not making money, let them give us the job, we would handle it for one month and give it back to them after we have paid our workers that have suffered in their hands” he said.
Comrade Adeyanju expressed delight that women now undertake certain jobs which were hitherto dominated by men, noting that at companies like TICT, BOLLORE, APMT, ENL, MAESRK, LTT and other terminals women are RTG drivers, crane operators, captains and ship engineers and they are pushing to do more.
He encouraged women in other branches of MWUN to take a cue from the celebration by the Shipping Branch in a bid to organize similar activities to celebrate themselves, MWUN leaders and the entire maritime industry.
The event also featured the presentation of awards of excellence to the Managing Director of Maersk Line, Mrs. Lara Lana; Managing Director of Bollore Logistics, Mrs. Sade Akanni-Shele; former HR Manager at Bollore, Mrs. Patience Daniel; HR Manager at CMA-CGM; Mrs. Benedicta Altalegbe and eleven others.
In her welcome address, the Special Female Representative of Shipping Branch, Comrade Rosemary Otikpere said the motive behind the event was to educate the newly inducted female union members on how to balance work, manage their homes effectively and take good care of their health.
“We also want to breach the gap between the female management staff and the female staff of our various companies, to let them know they are our role models and we look up to them and wish to move higher. We are also going to honour all the female Managing Directors (MDs) and Human Resources Managers (HRMs) in the industry breaching the barrier of gender inequality,” she said.
Describing the outing as one that would better project the image of MWUN, she revealed that the group intended to purchase a bus for easy movement of the shipping branch women “as we have lots of projects ahead of us as relates to visiting motherless homes and empowering the less privileged”