The Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) has urged the Nigeria Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to mandate all employers of seafarers in the country to add incentives to the wages of all seafarers in the country.
The President General of the MWUN; Comrade Adewale Adeyanju made the appeal on Wednesday in Lagos during the second phase of sensitization and distribution of COVID-19 preventives to seafarers in all Nigerian ports in collaboration with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF).
He reinstated that seafarers are essential workers who have contributed immensely to the growth of the economy.
Adeyanju described seafarers as floating prisoners who denied themselves, just to ensure the growth of the economy.
Stating that despite the alarming increase in the numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country, the seafarers are always onboard and therefore should be given incentives to cushion the effect of their suffering onboard vessels.
According to him,” the seafarers have contributed immensely to the growth of the economy of this nation and we are saying they should be given palliatives incentives to cushion the effect of their suffering on board the vessels.
"Because as a seafarer who meet with his family once in three month or six months, there is need to be rewarded
"So the cushion effect is what we are talking about, palliatives incentives needs to be added to their wages, because the seafarers are like floating prisoners who are onboard a vessel for almost six months.
"So we are saying when they come back the employers should give them palliatives
"We are equally telling NIMASA; the regulatory agency to talk to all employers of seafarers that palliative incentives must be given to all the seafarers in Nigeria".
He further said the union will resist any move by any operators to downsizes or slash salary of workers in the country, as he added that the workers should not be used as sacrificial lambs for a disease that was not brought by them.
Commending the seafarers in the country, he said "In the last three months the spread of COVID-19 in Nigeria has reached an alarming proportion with over 2000 confirmed cases and hundreds of death.
"Despite this, you still continue to expose yourselves by providing essential services and ensuring that economies keep running
On the donation of the second phase of PPEs, Adeyanju commended the ITF “for graciously
providing counterpart funding”.
"We are here today comrades to carry out the second phase of our programme involving distribution of safety Palliatives to Seafarers such as hand sanitizer hand gloves, face masks thermometers in all port starting with Lagos ports today and moving on to other ports such as: Calabar, Port Harcourt Onne and Warri.
"This programme was made possible through collaboration with the International Transport Federation (ITF) who graciously provided counterpart funding