We have increased dockworkers’ salaries, welfare package, says STOAN

Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN) on Monday said that it had signed an agreement with the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) which is aimed at increasing the wages of dockworkers.
 In a statement by Spokesman of STOAN, Mr Bolaji Akinola, the association’s chairman, Princess Vicky Haastrup said the reviewed welfare package would be valid for a period of two years, taking effect from 1st June 2014 to 31st May 2016, and promising that all arrears under the new package would be paid before the end of June 2015.

Haastrup reportedly expressed satisfaction with the level of reform attained in the docklabour industry since the port concession, adding that terminal operators will also continue to make 10% contribution of total emolument in favour of each dockworker in their employment towards the dockworkers’ retirement fund while each dockworker will contribute 8% in line with the Pension Commission Act.

The chairman said that the review of the dockworkers wages was in tandem with the promise made by the concessionaires to improve the working condition and welfare package of workers at the ports.

“When we took over operation of the terminal at the onset of the port concession programme in 2006, we promised to not only modernise the port but to also improve the working conditions of port workers and I am happy to report that we have continued to deliver excellent results in both directions,” Haastrup said.

She noted that the increase was the high point of negotiation between STOAN and representatives of MWUN under a collective bargaining agreement.

“Another good news for the dockworkers is the payment of attendant arrears which took effect from the end of the lifespan of the previous agreement which was 1st of June 2014. This translates to one year arrears of agreed percentage which the terminal operators will pay before end of June 2015,” Haastrup said.

She said workers at the port now enjoy better working condition compared to what obtained in the pre-port concession era.

While commending the leadership of MWUN for exhibiting maturity and patriotism during the negotiations, she called on dockworkers to reciprocate the terminal operators’ good gesture by remaining committed to their jobs and by shunning acts that could be inimical to the smooth running of the ports.

Haastrup said that despite the challenging operating environment, the terminal operators will continue to invest and modernize the nation’s seaports to achieve the Federal Government’s objectives for port reforms.

She reaffirmed her earlier call for an urgent solution to the perennial Apapa gridlock, which she said  was adversely affecting port operation and the Nigerian economy.

She also called for the reduction of the number of government agencies operating at the ports as well as the streamlining of clearing processes so as to reduce cargo dwell time at the ports.