New Telegraph

Maritime workers battle liners over 74% wage shortfall

Workers in the umbrella of the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have began making negotiations for minimum standards and improved welfare package in the shipping sub sector of maritime industry. Their counterparts in other foreign shipping lines are earning over 74 per cent above their salaries in Nigeria.

It was gathered that the negotiations with Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) was aimed at reaching improved and standard salaries, promotions and other welfare packages for workers as obtained in dockworkers and seafarers sections. According to them, Indians, Malaysians, Pakistanis, Russians, Croatians, who work onboard the same vessels in Nigerian waters earn the standard salary approved by the International Transport Federation (ITF)/ International Labour Organisation(ILO). Currently, those in seafaring sector are earning only 26 per cent of what their counterparts in other country are earnings. Findings revealed that while Nigerian seafarers earn between $19,000 and $34,237, some workers remuneration annual salaries is high as $128,000 in other country.

As of Jan 12, 2023, the average annual pay for a seafarer in the United States is $54,189 a year, an equivalent of $1,042/week or $4,515/month. According to ZipRecruiter annual salaries for workers elsewhere was as high as $128,000 and as low as $18,000, noting that the majority of seafarer salaries currently range between $31,500 and $63,500 with top earners making $100,000 annually across the United States. In Nigeria, ZipRecruiter explained that the seafarer job market in Lagos and other areas was not very active as few companies were currently hiring, stressing that salaries was between $34,237 per year and $19,952 (37per cent) less than the national average annual salary of $54,189.

It noted that the average pay ranged for a seafarer varies greatly by as much as $32,000, saying that there may be many opportunities for advancement and increased pay based on skill level, location and years of experience. However, the President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said that the new negotiation would take the workers out of the doldrum of despair. He explained that working in Nigeria’s shipping sector was like a death sentence. According to Adeyanju, getting SAN to sit with the Union for the negotiation was after issuance of 21 days to the body of employers.

He said: “We issued out 21 days ultimatum to Shipping Association of Nigeria (SAN) as directed by our National Executive Council (NEC); I was told that they have invited us for a meeting to commence the negotiation. “They have invited the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) to start discussing the welfare of the workers in shipping.

They did not want to listen before but because of the threat, they now see that there is need for them to have a meeting with us. “It has to do with what is called minimum standard is shipping. We have it in dockworkers, the seafarers, what stops us from having it in shipping? “Their remuneration is nothing to write home about.” The president general said that 30 years service in shipping was like a death sentence due to the amount they pay them. Adeyanju said that workers could remain in one position for between 10 years or 15 years without promotion, adding that was why some of workers turn themselves to camp boys scouting for containers.

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