COVID 19: ABTL Jettisons Salary, Opts For Payment By Tonnage For Dockworkers    

Apapa Bulk Terminal Limited (ABTL) has changed the employment status of the dockworkers in its terminal. Investigations by Shipping Position Daily revealed that dockworkers who were on permanent employment and placed on monthly salary will now be paid based on tonnage handled.

A source who pleaded anonymity at the terminal who confirmed this to our correspondent said owing to the effect of the COVID 19 pandemic on the terminal, it decided to convert the dockworkers on permanent employment basis to contract staff to be paid based on tonnage, which means instead of paying dock workers’ salaries, they will instead be paid by the tonnage of cargoes handled.

The source said the terminal could no longer continue to pay Dockers because the number of vessels coming into the terminal has reduced drastically, in the last three months.

He said, “I think the COVID-19 pandemic has actually affected the terminal, and that is why they are converting the dockworkers who were paid monthly salary and who were on permanent employment basis, to what seems like contractual payment, which means that the dock workers will now be paid for work done and not on salary, but with the look of things, vessels are not coming in.

“More so, there is fear for the second wave of the COVID 19, which means that vessels may stop coming in if this happens”, he said.

Further investigation by Shipping Position Daily reveals that ABTL which has about six berths had an average of two to three empty berths in the last one week, which shows there is a decline in numbers of vessel coming in.

The President General, Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN); Comrade Adewale Adeyanju in a chat with our correspondent confirmed the development.

Adeyanju said the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) allows that, while stating that many of the dockworkers operating at other terminals are being paid under the tonnage payment system.

He argued that the new mode of payment will be of higher advantage to dockworkers who have been clamouring to be paid per tonnage.

Adeyanju informed that although the dockworkers are no longer on permanent payment mode, they will still enjoy all the benefits entitled to dockworkers such as going on leave and gratuity, among others.

“Yes, it’s true, but you know we have three types of payment under the CBA agreement; some of the dockworkers are on payment by tonnage, some are on permanent employment while some are on unit payment. 

For those on payment by tonnage, it is the higher the tonnage, the better payment for them, so I think this will be of advantage to them, we have been on this for a long time, more so many of the dockworkers at the other terminals are paid by tonnage, and they have been fighting for this, so I believe this is a good advantage for them, if the tonnage is high.

“But, the disadvantage is where there are no vessels coming in, if the tonnage is low, then that means they will earn lower”, he said. `