There is palpable fear among workers in the maritime industry over imminent job loss because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The fear is borne out of an already fragile economy, leading to businesses folding up as a fallout from the COVID-19 Pandemic. Employers in the maritime industry have threatened to lay-off staff who may have added no value to the organizations during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Some maritime stakeholders who spoke to our correspondent confirmed that indeed there would be job losses in the industry due to the effect of the virus in the nation’s maritime industry.
In a chat with Shipping Position Daily recently, the Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA); Mr Kayode Farinto told our correspondent that there could be up to 35 percent job loss in the industry, he informed that some shipping companies and terminal operators are already thinking of laying-off some of their staff who have added little or no valuable contribution to the company since the lockdown.
He said some shipping companies confirmed to him that if they could work with 60 percent of their staff efficiently, there is no need to keep the 40 percent, adding that post COVID -19 will be terrible for some workers in the Industry.
Speaking also. the Public Relations Officers of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF); Mr Stanley Ezenga noted that indeed there would be job loss in the industry.
According to him, “there is no doubt about the fact that there will be job loss since the inception of the lockdown, some staff have not been going to work and their impact has not been felt, after normalcy, they may be asked to go home, because they are the ones who are not adding value to the industry, they will be laid-off”
Speaking in the same vein, the Deputy National President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT); Dr. Alban Igwe noted that indeed there would be job losses, especially in the private sector, but he also noted that there would be job gains, adding that those who have added skills and value to what they do has have no reasons to express anxiety over losing their jobs
In his words: “A number of people working in the private sector may lose their jobs as many of them lack the skills to actually work from home, and this will make employers evaluate what contributions they have been making in the industry.
“If there are no such skills needed to work from home, a person’s job is already on the line, a good player does not look for a good team, good team look for a good player”, he said.
Emphasizing that those who have the capacity to work from home during the pandemic era have actually accomplished more.
He said the only reason government may not lay off staff would be as a result of the budget.
Lending his voice as well, the Director General of Manufacturers Association of Nigeria(MAN); Mr. Segun Kadiri said that there would be global job losses due to the corona virus disease, but he stated that the maritime industry might lose more workers as the nation is driven by import which has drastically reduced since the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“Globally, there is a general job loss due to the effect of COVID19 which won't be palatable not just in the maritime industry which is also an international business that cut across different work sphere. So what goes on in the outside will probably affect the inside. So the total job loss will be apparent, but you know why the maritime industry might be really affected would be as a result of lack of imports, you would quite agree that the country is an import dependent country so those who have not been able to
Also reacting to the anxiety among workers in the industry, the Corporate Affairs Manager of SIFAX Group; Mr Muyiwa Akande emphasized that the organization would not lay off any of its workers, neither would there be salary cut, he stated that despite the fact that revenue cut has dropped, the company will do its best to satisfy its workers.
“I can tell you that there is no salary cut whatsoever at SIFAX group, staff still got their salaries paid last month and are even prepared to get this month salary
“There is no challenges with staff whatsoever despite the fact that revenue has dropped, but then no staff has been denied their benefits and remuneration, the company has been taking care of their staff”, he stated.