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NPA agrees to settle outstanding salaries of dockworkers

 The Nigerian
Ports Authority (NPA) on Tuesday said it would settle all the outstanding
arrears of wages of tally clerks and on-board security men (a unit of
dockworkers) before Dec. 15.

The Executive Director Marine
and Operations of NPA, Mr David Omonibeke made this known to newsmen in Lagos
after a joint meeting between government agencies and stevedoring companies.
 The News Agency of Nigeria
(NAN) reports that representatives of NPA, the Nigerian Maritime Administration
and Safety Agency (NIMASA) and the Federal Ministry of Transport were at the
meeting.
NAN reports that the Nigerian
Shippers’ Council, terminal operators, stevedoring companies, Maritime Workers
Union of Nigeria (MWUN) were also represented at the meeting.
The maritime workers union had
repeatedly shut down activities at the nation’s ports over non-payment of the
tally clerks and on board security men.
“Our meeting is to enable the
agencies, the ministry, to make inputs on the best way forward.
“So we hope to get positive
answers,’’ Omonibeke said.
He said that apart from tally
clerks and on-board security men employed by the NPA, some terminal operators
also engaged the services of some tally clerks and on-board security men.
Omonibeke said NPA was working
toward making sure that the terminal operators perfect their bills with the
tally clerks and on-board security men before Dec. 15 when the contract would
be terminated.
“Government is making efforts
that before the expiration of the contract, the right organisations or the
terminal operators would be responsible for payment of the services of tally
clerks and on-board security men.
“Bills are processed and the
ports authority wants to make sure that before the contract ends, it will be
able to sort out the outstanding bills before Dec. 15.
Also speaking, the Executive
Director, Maritime Labour and Cabotage Services of NIMASA, Dr Calistus Obi,
said everybody in the meeting spoke out in the interest of his or her
organisations.
Obi said the regulators
approached the issue with the enabling Act of the different agencies in the
maritime sector .
He said it would be a
continuous interaction, adding that hopefully, there would be lasting solution
without short-changing the government
“Our interest is for everybody
to operate within the ambit of our laws.
“NIMASA’s position is clear.
It is predicated on Section 37, Sub-Section 1, A, B, C, D, of the NIMASA Act
which mandated us to intervene on issues relating to dispute on welfare and wages
of dockworkers in any ports in Nigeria.
“We have regulatory powers
which include sanctions; where the dockworkers fail,’’ Obi said.
The President, National
Association of Stevedoring Companies (NASC), Mr Bolaji Sunmola, said the
meeting was meant to determine whether tally clerks should stay or not.
“Our position still remains
that payment should be made as and when due and that NPA should be responsible
for the payment of tally clerks and on-board security men,’’ Sunmola said.
He said NPA had paid the
stevedores 40 per cent of the arrears of wages being owed and had promised to
pay the remaining 60 per cent before Dec. 15.
A Service Provider and a
member of the NASC, Hon. Abba Kalona, said the maritime workers had stated
categorically that tally clerks and on-board security men should still remain
at the ports.
He said it was left for the
government agencies to analyse and point out the way forward.
“It was stated that the
concessionary agreement should be reviewed every two or three years.

“It is our belief that there
should be tariffs on cargoes to sort out the payment of tally clerks and
on-board security men,’ Kalona said. 

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