By DAPO OLAWUNI
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has said that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of the dockworkers midwifed by the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) has expired since June 2023 and it is now due for renewal.
President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju in an exclusive interview with DAILY TREND last week also criticised the Federal Government for collecting payments from terminal operators in US Dollars, saying that the union might also start demanding payment for its Dockworkers in dollars.
Adeyanju who was making a case for terminal operators in Nigeria condemned the fact that charges and tariffs was not adjusted for more than fifteen years in line with realities of the Nigerian economy.
“The Federal Government is making money from terminal operators, they charge them throughout, land fees and all in dollars, NPA today is far richer than when they were autonomous, but the people they concessioned their function to (terminal operators) have not increased their charges for sixteen years, and yet they have so many expectations.
“Why some people were attacking us for supporting terminal operators is because of the end users that would pay these increment.
“However, the business of the port must be well managed so that the investors do not run away, if you go round the terminal today, hardly would you see one vessel at a time, this is because the Dollar is resigning against the Naira, where are they going to get it?
“Some of the terminal operators spend millions of dollars in buying diesel, so it’s not as if we are biased in our campaign, we are saying the obvious, that their rates should be adjusted.
“The bulk cargoes operations takes a lot of manpower and human element involvement in their activities, ENL Terminal is having almost 1,000 workers, and if a vessel is coming with only 2,000mt, the labour has taken 70% of revenue that is going into that terminal, that’s the truth.
“If you have five vessels of 3,000mt going to ENL Terminal, and because of the complexity of the operation that involves labour, they might use almost 200 workers on one vessel, and these workers are on payment by tonnage, from there you accrue extra services, from there the terminal would also pay throughput and land fees in Dollars.
“Very soon, maybe we would also be asking for wages of Dockworkers in dollars, since NPA is also charging terminal operators in dollars, then the workers too must ask for Dollars.
“Because of we saw with our employers, we saw that things are not working well, they have not adjusted their charges for more than sixteen years.
The collective bargaining agreement between us and terminal operators, midwifed by NIMASA, witnessed by NPA is long overdue since June” Adeyanju stated
Speaking further on the expired NJIC Agreement, the MWUN PG said the union is now putting every necessary action in motion to ensure that it meets with the concerned stakeholders which are; Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and Terminal Operators, to sign a new tripartite agreement.
He said that because of the Nigerian economic situation, the union decided to wait and see if terminal operators tariff would be adjusted so that they don’t begin to give excuses.
“If we are discussing about the wages of Dockworkers now, no terminal will tell us they are not making money, we are an advocacy of peace between the people that gave the job and the workers. We must also speak for the employment of labour” he said