Bolaji Sunmola (President, Nigerian Stevedores)
Certainly they are not better-off; the terminal operators do not understand the stevedoring operations of their cargo dispatch. I don’t know who they have trained or the capacity of the workers under them. The terminal operators are more concerned about maximizing profit, the labour component is not appreciated by them; the workers are not receiving their full remunerations.
Okachukwu Vincent (Freight Forwarder)
Before the port concession, the dockworkers were under NPA, but after concession, each terminal operator had to employ its dockworkers. I think there has been improvement, especially in terms of their income, but what we are experiencing now is as a result of the drought in cargo traffic, they are not being taken care of as it should, in a situation like this, it is expected, the best thing is for the terminal operators to manage the situation until we get out of it, a time will come when the dockworkers would be re-engaged, it is not the best to take to violence. Nigeria is passing through difficult times and it affects both sides, there must be mutual understanding in their relationship.
Capt. Adewale Ishola (Master Mariner)
During pre-concession era, these dockworkers were all government employees. As far as I am concerned, the dockworkers today need to be trained and re-trained, the major problem is that people are not up to date with what is the current trend in the maritime industry, if you give dockworkers the proper training, they would be able to fit in anywhere whether with government or private sector, the training gap is there and it is the major problem. The welfare package of dockworkers comes with their capacity to deliver, if you can deliver properly you will be well paid, dockworkers need to be proofessionalised because they are very strategic, there is no port in the world where you don’t have dockworkers.
Nnamdi Eronini (Maritime Trainer)
Dockworkers were initially under the government, and we all know how government work is done in Nigeria; there is no compulsion, there is a lot of lacuna, complacency and a lot of allowances. But now working under the concessionaire is a different ball game, the concessionaire have invested money and they must recoup their money, they cannot take excess baggage, they are calculating their money daily, so it is natural for them to shed some workers, some of these decisions however should be agreed with the dockworkers union. Based on the packages given to the dockworkers, it is better off for them under the private sector compared to the civil service.
John Okpono (Merchant Navy)
Issuance of appointment letter for dockworkers is long overdue because in the world over casualisation of workers no longer exist. Dockworkers in Nigeria have not been treated fairly in the area of remuneration and welfare, perhaps, because their jobs don’t really entail highly skilled application in the line of duty. However letter of appointment is long overdue.
Comrade Matthew Adele (dockworker)
Modern-day dockworkers have achieved the following as regards to reform and remuneration; one, dockworkers have been trained on how to work in a safe environment by observation of safety signs like corrosive cargoes, hazardous operations, proper kitting etc. Two, decency at operational area, the dockworkers are being enlightened on behavioural approach towards their management. They are also being trained about peaceful co-existence among other port users. The modern-day dockworkers are been classified as skilled labour now unlike in the past when they are classified as unskilled. In the area of remuneration , before the port reform, majority of dockworkers were being paid either by table payment or payment through head man(supervisor), but modern day dockworkers have a proper bank payment system which makes them eligible to receive loans and other banking benefits, which also made government to deduct PFA, Tax, Union Dues. etc.
Innocent Orok (journalist)
No doubt the various problems associated with ports concession is all encompassing including the plight of dockworkers. The truth is that if the several problems associated with ports concession are not resolved, the dockworkers will continue to have their own share of the problems. In my own view, I still maintain that the situation has not changed, because some of them are like casual workers with no job security from their employers; as such they can be laid- off anytime; even with poor wages.