· We will Resist “Masters-Slave” Working Condition In Maritime Sector–Ayuba Wabba
The President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN); Comrade Adewale Adeyanju has decried the level of insecurity in the country, even as he cautioned that Nigeria nation is drifting towards anarchy while calling for urgent need to reverse this trend before it spirals out of control.
Comrade Adeyanju spoke last Friday at the MWUN 5th Quadrennial National Delegates Conference where he was re-elected.
Adeyanju said, “it is no gain saying that the security architecture in the country has broken down. The incessant killing of innocent citizens, kidnapping, robberies, raping, piracy, brigandage and all other vices which have been the order of the day, must be brought to a stop now. The Federal government is hereby called upon to immediately re-jig its security architecture with a view to curbing all these vices and save lives and properties”.
Adeyanju who also spoke on the perennial traffic gridlock of the Lagos ports’ access road, noted that the bad roads are having negative effect on the nation’s economy, while adding that the loss is colossal and unquantifiable.
Adeyanju however commended the management of Nigerian Ports Authourity (NPA) for the introduction of the electronic call up system, even as he encouraged NPA management not to succumb to the antics of detractors.
He also urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to expedite action on the issuance of Biometric Identity Cards to dock workers, so as to enable proper means of identifying registered dock workers in the nation’s ports.
“We like to seize this opportunity to appeal and urge NIMASA to as matter of urgency, expedite action to commence issuance of Biometric identity cards to dock workers so as to enable proper means of identifying registered dock labours in our nation’s ports”, he said.
Speaking on the achievements of the union during his first termed, he informed the MWUN has floated some companies which he said he hope will expand the revenue base of the union.
“We have in this wise floated some companies which we hope will expand the revenue base of the union. Such companies include: Maritime Haulage, Stevedoring and Maritime Workers (Apapa) Cooperative Multipurpose Society, we have initiated in roads to tap into the lucrative Export/Import the union, and Logistics Ltd, and the union business etc” he said.
Also speaking at the MWUN delegates conference, the President of Nigeria Labour Congress, Comrade Ayuba Wabba warned employers of labour in the maritime industry that the union will resist any efforts to turn their employees into slave.
According to him, the NLC have had running battles with employers of labour in the maritime sector who still operate what he called ‘Masters-Servant’ industrial regulation without considering the benefits of workers as entrenched in section 20 of the Nigeria Labour Act.
The NLC President however called on the Federal Government to improve the participation of Nigerians in the maritime sector thereby increasing employment opportunities through the Cabotage Act of 2003.
He further asked the government to improve on the state of port infrastructure in the country, stressing that all vessels that discharge refined products in the ports must do so in few days, informing that the low turnaround time result into unintended demurrage cost, which eventually is transferred to the consumers.
The NLC President also called on the Federal government to seriously consider the construction of a new port while commending the Lagos state government for developing the Lekki Deep Sea port
Ayuba who commended the re-elected President General of MWUN, Prince Adewale Adeyanju, for the level of progress he recorded in office during his first term. He said the President General has shown the hallmark of trade union movement in Nigeria.
“Adewale Adeyanju has been able to stabilize the union and also build some level of unity and progress which is the hallmark of trade union movement in Nigeria. I want to commend him and his entire executives for achieving this great important feat”, he said.
He said: “I also call for the improvement of the working condition of our maritime workers; the seafarers because there is a global standard of how seafarers and workers in the maritime industry are treated, because it is something that is a global standard and that’s why we have the ILO conventions which Nigeria ratified recently, but we need those conventions to be domesticated so that it can make meaning to the workers in the maritime industry
“We have had a number of running battles with employers in the maritime sector who still operate Masters Servant Industrial regulation and so think they can hire and fire workers at will without considering the benefits of the workers as entrenched in section 20 of the Nigeria Labour Act. We want to warn such employers that the era of such labour is over as the organized union will not take it lightly with any employer that will turn our employer to slaves. We will ensure that there is no going back on this important issue.
Wabba while urging the government to pay more attention to the maritime industry stated that, “according to the World Shippers Council, the shipping industry contributes GDP of $183.3 billion per year, also the direct capital expenditure of shipping industry alone in a year average $29.3billion, while the industry generates $4.2 trillion annually, this is why we said the sector is very critical to the economy of Nigeria and also to the global economy”.
“In Nigeria the contribution of the Maritime sector to the national economy is very profound, in 2018 NPA disclosed that they contributed the sum of N30 billion to the coffers of the federal government, which shows that the maritime sector is a critical sector of the economy”, he said.