...Union laments drop in check-off dues
The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has said that it is working with port concessionaires in ensuring that aged dockworkers are phased-out of operations in the Nigerian port system.
This is even as the union has lamented a drop in check-off dues it receives from its members who are employees of terminal operators.
Disclosing this exclusively to Shipping Position Daily in Lagos, President General of the union; Comrade Adewale Adeyanju said the union is already meeting with terminal operators and stevedoring contractors to ensure that dockworkers above 70 and 75 years old pave way for the younger ones.
Adeyanju argued that the continuous use of old men as dockworkers in the port system is not encouraging productivity. He also stressed that presently, no stevedoring contractor engages any dockworker that is old to do the job.
He told Shipping Position Daily that the retirement exercise would cut across all ports across the country and not just Lagos ports alone.
He said, "What we are trying to do now is to make sure that terminal operators retire all our aged dockworkers so that they will pave way for the younger ones to be employed"
"This is what the union is doing now, we are seating down with the terminal operators and the stevedoring contractors to make sure that those ones that are above 70 and 75 years old pave way for the younger ones to come, this is the plan of the union"
"If any terminal operator or stevedoring contractors are employing aged dockworkers to come and do the job, they are at risk and it would not augur well for them, they will not get any productivity from the aged ones, rather than to train the younger ones so that there would be enough productivity"
"It is not only in Lagos ports, all over Nigeria we have aged dockworkers and there is need for them to be phased out because they are old".
He however assured that full entitlements that belong to the soon-to-be disengaged dockworkers, such as their gratuity, pension and other retirement benefits would be paid to them.
According to him, "when you are phasing somebody out and asking him to go home, you must pay him what belongs to him, unlike before when they just get a handshake, this time around, there is nothing like handshake , you pay me what I have done".
While lamenting the drop in the union finances, Adeyanju raised alarm that due to bad port access roads and effective government policies,
vessels are no longer calling at Nigeria ports; he said majority of cargoes have been diverted to Cotonou port.
He said "the check-off due is based on the number of workers and the output that came on the ship, when you have 34,000 Metric Tonnes onboard a ship, the dockworkers will earn more, but when a ship comes in with 3,000 and we are having up to 700 workers, how are they going to share the job”
"For the past six months at ENL, the vessels they are handling is just 3,000 tons and they are all frozen cargoes and payment is by tonnage" he explained.