In the bid to save dock workers from incessant embarrassment of mistaken identity, the President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN Comrade (Prince) Adewale Adeyanju has sound a note of warning to Nigeria Maritime Administrative and Safety Agency, NIMASA, to speed up action in reissuing biometric identity cards to dock workers.
Comrade Adeyanju said that NIMASA has been notified of the reissuance of the dock workers Bio- metric cards since his tenure as president of dockworkers between 2008 through 2017 to no avail.
The President General disclosed this in Lagos, during the 5th Quadrennial Branch delegates conference on Monday at the National Secretariat.
He disclosed that he consistently called out to NIMASA on the issuance since the ones they currently hold had expired but all he got were promises from each successive NIMASA management.
He added that its been over a decade and dock workers are yet to be reissued with the ID as promised, hinting that all required protocols has been carried out to no avail, ” It is strange that a decade is gone and still counting, dock workers are yet to be reissued with biometric identity cards as promised.
“As a union we have gone through all the normal routes to get action on this matter but there seems to be a deliberate scheme put in place to deny our members this important document which is meant to serve as their legitimate means of identification as they are often embarrassed and mistaken for hoodlums because of lack of identity.
” We want to serve this notice to be he general public that should NIMASA continue to renege on its over a decade promise to issue bio – metric card to dock workers, we will have no option to resort to appropriate means to get redress. Adeyanju said.
Speaking on the growing insecurity in the ports, he hinted that it is occasioned sometimes to the nonchalant of government who watch with indifference as multinational companies who do business in the ports outsource security functions of their organization to foreign nationals such as South Africa, America, Togo, Uganda and the likes, to the detriment of indigenous nationals who have same experience and expertise.
He therefore called on all relevant security agencies to rise up to their jobs before been overrun by insecurity in the ports.
On terminal operators, the Maritime labour leader called on the FG, through Federal Ministry of Transportation, Bureau for Public Enterprise , etc to consider increasing tariffs due to terminal operators which has been stagnated since the concessioning of the ports, which he believed will boost their financial capacity to enable them fulfil their financial obligations to the workers and government.
He also noted that seafarers certification as it is currently in Nigeria is far below international standards, thus putting indigenous seafarers trained in the nations maritime institute at disadvantage to compete internationally for employment.
He however urged the FG to, through the relevant ministries and agencies cause an upgrade in the facilities of all maritime training institutes in the nation, especially Maritime Academy , Oron as it will shore up international accreditation of such institutes and bring them up to par with International standards.
Adeyanju expressed shock at the information gotten that the employment scheme in NOA is top heavy and down low , such that management staff are more in number than junior staff , causing negative impact on productivity.
He therefore appeal to the federal government to lift the embargo placed on employment of junior staff in the Nigeria Ports Authority in fulfilment of its promise to create jobs for Nigerians.
While urging delegates to comport themselves in the usual practise of MWUN, with decorum as the new branch leadership are elected, he commend and acknowledged the enormous contribution of the branch presidents and their executives for ensuring smooth management of the union affairs without rancour.
Delivering his speech at the opening ceremony, President of the Nigerian Ports Authority Branch of the union, Comrade Edward Ifeanyi Mazeli raised alarm over the gradual extinction of junior staff employees under the agency.
Mazeli who was been re-elected for a second term bid, lamented that the numerical strength of members of union are dwindling daily , attributing the decline to promotions, retirements and death.
Mazeli also stressed the need for management of the NPA to employ more junior staff to boost the workforce .
“The numerical strength of our members are dwindling every day. This is a result of promotions, retirements and death which is a natural phenomenon.
“We wish to use this opportunity to once again appeal to our management to employ more junior workers to boost the workforce.”
According to him, hundreds of private jetties operating in the country are without the presence of workers of the agency , stressing the need to reverse the trend for obvious reasons.
The branch President also urged the NPA and Nigeria Shippers ‘Council a sister agency under the Ministry of Transportation to engage importers and shipping companies to ensure that goods are shipped to the eastern seaports of the country.
“Also given the fact that Onitsha is the commercial hub in the South Eastern Nigeria, it makes it imperative for the development of Onitsha seaport to boost economic activities and create employment for Nigerians.
Mazeli also urged management of the NPA to reduce harbour due in the eastern seaports, as part of measures to stimulate greater patronage by shippers.
Speaking on gratuity for retirees, the union’s branch boss affirmed that workers of NPA on retirement has scheme rose from 180% to 280%, which in turn led to the commendation by the union on behalf of members
Primarily on the collaboration with the senior staff NPA union, Comrade Mazeli noted that ” Prior to this administration, our two in-house union’s were engaging management separately. But this administration has adopted a collaborative approach in interfacing with management.
“I wish to report that this approach has brought much dividends to the workers of NPA amongst which are dissolving the contentious/aged long stagnation issues, harmonisation of salary structure etc”.
Giving account on the industrial peace and harmony in the maritime sector, he maintained that the last four years under his watch witnessed tremendous working relationship with management , thus seeking management collaboration at all levels to ensure peaceful coexistence that will culminate into achieving the ultimate vision and mission of NPA and its numerous subsidiaries.
In his address, the president of dockworkers branch, Comrade Tajudeen Ibrahim Ohize disclosed that despite the Corona virus pandemic , dockworkers kept the ports running at full capacity.
Recounting his branch achievement in the last four years , he hinted that they were able to enforce stevedoring companies to provide PPE and other amenities for dockworkers and were able to put in place scientific approaches in conflict resolutions.
Also signing of dockworkers collective bargaining agreement, creation of new district, severances package for tally clerks and onboard security men among others.
He promised to work hand in hand with the President General in the next four years to achieve making the international oil companies to comply with NIMASA act which allows stevedoring and dockworkers to handle connecting and disconnecting operations at oil platform.
He added that they will support in compelling the management of APMT to accept and work with the Nigerian law on expatriate quotes on local content that allows eligible qualified Nigerians to work. While also ensuring that NIMASA provide Biometric identity cards for dockworkers.
He however appreciate the President General, Comrade Adeyanju for his leadership style and for standing as a pillar on which the union is standing.
In his word, ” My address will not be complete if I fail to acknowledge our amiable leader who stood as a pillar on which this great union is standing and soaring, a leader who has made sure that the least among us have a good working condition in the maritime industry.
“A father who has made us all satisfied, I am taking of no other than the one and only Comrade Adeyanju, a leader who has been piloting the affairs of this great union in making sure that we get to the peak in our struggles as a union” Ohize said.
Also speaking, Acting Managing Director, NPA, Mr. Bello Koko Mohammed commended the union for the scientific method of engaging management of the agency.
He described MWUN President General as a bridge builder and smooth operators.
Koko maintained that has grown from being a violent and hooliganism approach in engaging management but added that the current relationship of the unions have achieved tremendous results due to the systematic steps to achieve welfares demand.
“Unionism is all about partnership and I have witness that with your union . You have been resilient to some of your request and keep engaging us constructively”.
Hajia Hajere Mohammed , General Manager ,Human Resources,NPA who represented the acting M.D added that the currently leadership of union has displayed high level of dignity and progress.
She promised to pass the demands of the NPA Branch on shortage of junior staff to management.