The Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) has commenced the creation of an electronic platform known as “e-maritime” for a database of dockworkers and seafarers.
Executive Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA, Hon. Victor Ochei, made the disclosure on Friday at the National Executive Council (NEC) meeting held by the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, in Lagos.
Ochei gave assurances that the platform, which would serve to provide security system against attacks at the nation’s ports as well as onboard vessels and give security information on the maritime labour industry, would involve verification, production and issuance of biometric identity cards to dockworkers and seafarers identification documents.
His words: “NIMASA also notes the importance of effective and efficient response to maritime labour matters, and has commenced the process of e-maritime platform for industry stakeholders.”
“It is aimed at achieving the following; a fool-proof security system towards the potential breach of security onboard and at the seaport, secondly to provide a high level of security information concerning the maritime labour industry.
“Thirdly is to create a centralised database for the Nigerian dockworkers and seafarers.”
Ochei also disclosed that the NIMASA had since suspended waivers on manning, in order to create opportunities for Nigerian seafarers onboard ships.
He said plans were being concluded to begin training of seafarers on the much needed skills, competence and knowledge required of seafarers onboard. After the training for seafarers, that of the dockworkers would follow, Ochei made known.
He also disclosed that besides the training for seafarers and dockworkers, NIMASA was facilitating the national workshop for MWUN, to ensure sufficient training for the maritime labour workforce to meet industry requirements as provided by the International Labour Organisation and the International Maritime Organisation.
On the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC), Ochei said members of the NJIC, which MWUN is one, would have an amicable pact and endorse a collective bargaining agreement.
In his welcome address, the President General of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, Comrade Adewale Adeyanju shared with the meeting on a number of remarkable achievements under his watch, such as the final payment of severance package to tally clerks and onboard security at all ports and jetty.
Under Adeyanju, the Union has registered and received license to commence haulage business, in the light of which it has acquired two trucks. It also already has 350 members in its Maritime Workers Union Multipurpose Society.
The Union has also gone digital by establishing its website; www.mwun.org, to enable it disseminate information easily to members and the world at large.
He, however, called on the Federal Government to call shipping lines in Nigeria to order and to make them obey the nation’s labour laws, especially as it affects minimum wage.
“A situation whereby an employee is forced to remain on one salary scale for over 20 years is not only calous but intolerable and would no longer be acceptable. Even more appalling is their penchant for outsourcing jobs.”
“We wish to put the general public on notice that the union will no longer tolerate these anomalies and will not hesitate to declare industrial unrest in the Nigerian shipping industry,” Adeyanju warned
In his goodwill message, former President General of MWUN, Comrade Tony Nted commended the leadership pattern of Adeyanju, as he extolled him for the innovative ideas and efforts to grow the Union.
Nted also commended Adeyanju for sustainability of the industrial peace and harmony he inherited from him, and for sustaining his legacies.
As fresh elections into the Union draws near, he cautioned the PG to be wary of usual pockets of disagreements, warning him not to allow the process to be hijacked or turned into violence.
President of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) Comrade Ayuba Waba, represented by the Secretary General of the Union, Comrade Emma Ogbuaja, commended the MWUN for having maintained peace and industrial harmony in the maritime sector.
According to him “The maritime workers union has the muscle to hold the Nigerian economy to ransom, but they have not done so, because they are educated and they believe unionism has gone beyond picketing and carrying placards.”