The Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) have asked the Minister of Transportation, Mu’azu Sambo, to bring back the gangway security and tally clerks into the port. They noted that the presence of onboard ship gangway men and tally clerks in port operation was statutory and supported by the Dock Labour rule of 1967, the National Dock Labour Board established by decree No. 13 of 1979, Maritime Labour Act, 2003, Part IX and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) Act, Part Vii maritime labour. The NLC President, Comrade Joe Ajaero, said in Lagos during a visit to MWUN secretariat that the maritime union should issue a twoweek ultimatum to the Ministry of Transportation to restore onboard ship gangway men and tally clerks, saying that it was statutory in port operations.
He stressed that nobody should toy with issues that concerns workers as NLC would not have sympathy on anybody toying with the interest of workers at port. Ajaero said: “When you have written them the letter, shutdown the ports all over the country; we are saying it openly that for refusing to engage the union for two years, let the ministries of transportation and labour do their work. We are ready to give you solidarity action until this is obeyed, they have acted illegally and we cannot be legal with them, every illegal action requires an illegal response.” Also, both NLC and MWUN rejected the increment in the salary of Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) after 18 years. They also demanded the template used by NPA to compute the increment, alleging that it was fraudulent. Ajaero noted that after 18 years salary stagnation, what NPA had done was giving the workers a bonus, adding that it could not be equated to salary increment. He explained that the cost of living in the past 18 years had increased astronomically, compared to the increment NPA carried out.
He said: “If they should increase salary after eighteen years and there is no template for its implementation, it is fraud and confusing, they have to come out with the template. Some people will tell you that they have increased salary by adding N2,000 on workers or N1,000, this is an increase but it doesn’t follow the due process.
“If they have increased the salary, what they just did is an award and a bonus, let the MWUN write NPA for us to negotiate salary, the NPA just dash us money; we would write them and thank them for the money, but they should come to the table and let’s negotiate.” Also, the unions asked the government to prioritise the payment of pension to aged seafarers in compliance with a subsisting court order. It added that the issue had lingered for too long in spite of a subsisting court ruling, which demands that they be paid pension.
According to MWUN, a letter dated August 5, 2021 had been forwarded to the Minister of Transportation to demand for restoration of the pool system for registered on board gangway security men and tally men. Also, the President General of MWUN, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, highlighted major challenges confronting the maritime workers, stating that 13,000 job losses were recorded during the 2006 port concession. According to him, there are multiple regulatory agencies coming up in the port, saying it is difficult to determine the fate of workers of NPA and other workers in the sector. Adeyanju noted: “We believe the NPA is the agency that regulates the terminal operators, but now that government is bringing in Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC),