The National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) has agreed to discontinue further negotiations for the increment of wages of dock workers given the prevailing economic conditions facing the maritime industry in general and Nigeria in particular.
A statement today, Wednesday, by the Head of the Corporate Communications of NIMASA, Hajiya Lami Tumaka, said that the decision to suspend talks on wage increment was taken at the inaugural meeting of the NJIC which met at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) last week Friday.
The meeting of the Council, which was presided over by the Executive Director of the Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services, Gambo Ahmed who is also the chairman, said that the dwindling fortunes in global shipping which has affected vessel traffic to Nigeria has negatively impacted the fortunes of Sea Ports and Terminal Operators of Nigeria (STOAN).
The Council observed that the economic downturn has caused some operators to lay off workers and in order to stem the tide of retrenchment, it was necessary to discontinue the negotiation on wage increment until the situation improves.
President General of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), Comrade Emmanuel Anthony Nted, said that MWUN understands the economic situation and that there is no need to demand for increment.
He however called on the Terminal Operators to show understanding when the situation improves and the Union calls for a negotiation of wage increase for dockworkers.
That was even as the Chairman of the NJIC, Gambo Ahmed commended MWUN for showing maturity and understanding of the situation and charged STOAN members to reciprocate this gesture when the economic situation improves.
Gambo Ahmed commended all parties to the agreement for their show of maturity and called on them to show greater collaboration in order to move the Nigerian maritime industry forward.
“I therefore call on all Council members to cooperate with the Agency towards ensuring meaningful negotiations aimed at the signing of a reviewed collective bargain agreement on dock labour minimum standards.”
The NJIC which is composed of MWUN, STOAN, National Association of Stevedoring Companies (NASC), Jetty and Tank Farm Owners Association of Nigeria and chaired by NIMASA is saddled with the responsibility of negotiating and reviewing Minimum Standards for Dock Labour industry in Nigeria.
The inaugural Council meeting which held in NIMASA was attended by all members and monitored by officials from the Federal Ministry of Transportation as well as the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. [myad]