MWUN Commends NPA MD; Hadiza As Verification Of Disengaged Workers ReachES Lagos Port

Haven concluded the process at Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Warri Ports, the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) yesterday kick-started the physical verification process of tally clerks and onboard security men that were retrenched in 2015.

The workers were sent off as a result of the cancellation of NPA contract with stevedoring companies.

However, the NPA under the management of Hadiza Bala Usman is now ready to pay the affected workers. 

Speaking with journalists at the two-day verification exercise which kicked off at the NPA sports ground in Surulere, Lagos, President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) Comrade Adewale Adeyanju described Hadiza Bala Usman as a good mother who listens to the cry of her children.

Adeyanju also disclosed that with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) recently signed by the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) all entitlements and terminal benefits of Nigerian dockworkers will now be paid directly by terminal operators and not the stevedoring companies.

He assured that stevedoring companies were not being sacked from the port, but that certain financial burdens has been taken off their shoulders to further ensure optimal performance to dockworkers especially as regards kitting and others.

While commending the NPA boss for reaching an agreement with the union on the disengaged tally clerks and onboard security men, Comrade Adeyanju said "She is a wonderful mother and I keep on saying it, women leader are better than men sometimes"

"Since she came on onboard we have been enjoying her, I don't have any problem with her and we don't intend to, she has been upright, up and doing in her job, if you put your problems before her, she would study it very well and get back to you and set up a team, this is the result you are seeing today"

"All the Executive Directors at NPA are also wonderful people who have the love of workers at heart" he said.

He disclosed that after the termination of the appointment of stevedoring companies with NPA in 2015, the union had gone to court.

He however said on his assumption of office as the President General, he decided to settle out of court.

"The verification has to do with some pending issues we have been having for some couple of years now, the tally clerks and onboard security men where NPA terminated the appointment of the stevedoring contractors, the question was that who would pay their gratuity and terminal benefits"

"The matter was in court, but when I came in as PG I looked at it that there is no way you want to get something from your employer and you are in court, so I asked them to withdraw the case, so we started internal negotiations and these gave berth to what you see today"

He said the tally clerks and onboard security men that have not been paid for three years.

Also speaking, President of the Nigerian Association of Stevedoring Companies, Mr. Bolaji Sunmola commended the NPA boss, saying that all contractual obligations of the disengaged stevedoring companies were paid by her immediately she came into office.

Sunmola said the verification of the disengaged workers was coming at the right time, though  a bit late.

"But t is better to be late than never, this verification is on the step to ensuring that NPA rights some of the things that were done by the previous administration which was untoward", he said.

In the recently signed CBA by the NJIC, Sunmola said though the association had its inputs, but it would be making an official comment on it soon.

He said although the agreement has been signed but the stevedoring group have not read what was signed.

He however said: "it is in the interest of the industry, once the workers are happy, there would be peace in the industry which is the major interest of everyone. stevedoring companies all over the world cannot be wished away because it would lead to chaos".