Akpan Obong (Dockworker)
The issue of what government should do to me does not count at the moment, because we are talking about life and death. I mean where people earn a living and someone or an operator will just come and say we want to short list or do anything at this period when most dockworkers are thinking of how to make their family members happy.
The terminal operators should please calm down and try being merciful to these people who earn their living through hard labour. If these people take law into their hands, it will be like the incident of ENL, but please I am not saying it will come to that, but they should dialogue, we are all dockworkers and we are humans like the terminal operators
Abayomi Oseni (Dockworker)
I think the government should intervene on time and do something, so that the situation will not get out of hand. Whatever it is that has caused and brought about this can be checked by the relevant agencies like the MWUN, NIMASA and terminal operators themselves. This is festive period and it will not be nice for any fracas now, please we want peace, we don’t want issues where they go on saying dockworkers are touts, notorious or criminals, we are family men too. Please help resolve this issue.
Alh. Fatai Adesokan (Shippers Council)
The issue of dockworkers going on strike in the industry is a serious problem as a result of the economic implication that it portends.
This will affect the turn around time of ships in Port Harcourt; also the berth occupancy will be affected. The labour concerned will suffer some hardship in terms of wages/remuneration and other sundry matters.
Therefore, government as a matter of priority should look into it and implement the recommendations of committee on Dock labour policy with NIMASA.
Ademola Irinyemi (Registrar, IFFN)
Considering the scenario in Port Harcourt, the protest on the part of dockworkers cannot hold water. This is because the terminal operators would not want to incur cost that would have a strong negative effect on their returns on investments.
The aggrieved dockworkers are crying for proposed downsizing exercise by the operators. Honestly, if you as a good business man/woman is in the shoe of these operators, and you are determined to make a difference and break even in business, staff strength should be properly looked into, so you don’t try impress people and at the end of the day go out of business.
Alternatively, the authorities, terminal operators, MWUN, NIMASA, and NPA should discuss and reach a reasonable compensation for the dockworkers in terms of their accumulated special dockworkers welfare. The union should also look out for areas in other organizations in need of their service.
Oluwafemi Olulana (Shippers Council)
Considering what is going on all over the world, the spate of privatization is everywhere. Taking a look at dockworkers from their experience with NPA is quite different from what they have with the terminal operators. The terminal operators want to maximize their returns by making full use of the dockworkers and also maintain standard.
Government approved the concession arrangement, they should allow the concessionaires do it the way it soothes them.
Formerly, we use to get paid directly by ENL Terminal, but now there is a contractor in-between that pays us now and the salary is too small, we do not have any account, no bonuses whatsoever. Even at a festive period like this and the funniest thing is that you must not complain in order not to get sacked. The government should please look into the matter and help us out.
The major thing that causes dockworkers to go on strike is money and welfare, money is the answer to all things. So I believe if dockworkers are well provided for, everything will work out fine.
The major thing we dock workers clamour for is salary upgrading, the wages are too poor and even at that, we do not get it on time, they delay our salaries, government should assist us.
Comrade OPUTA (Vice Chairman, MWUN)
The terminal operators have not been co-operative as expected with the union.
In fact, they are not recognizing the union. I think the solution to this problem is that they should give what belongs to the union members to them. They should bring the units together to do what they have been doing. Allow the union to do their thing.
Everything is collective bargaining. Terminal operators will not get everything they want. Dockworkers cannot also get everything they want, but then they should leave the units to work. We also want them to pay gratuity to those workers who are being sent away, because they have spent a greater part of their lives here. We also want representatives of all stakeholders to be present to supervise the payments as earlier agreed, so that they don’t cheat us or just pay us anything they like.