Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria, STOAN and Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, MWUN signed new accord aimed at raising the welfare and wages of dockworkers.
The STOAN Chairman, Princess Vicky Haastrup said that the reviewed welfare package, which has been backdated to take effect from 1st June 2014 to 31st May 2016 and thus, valid for a period of two years, would also see all arrears under the new package paid on or before this month end..
Princess Vicky who 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, pointing out that the terminal operators would equally continue to make 10 percent contribution of total emolument in favour of each dockworker in their employment so as to ensure very strong platform for dockworkers’ retirement, however stated further, that each dockworker would still contribute only 8 percent, in line with the Pension Commission Act.
“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, adding that the increase was the high point of negotiation between STOAN and MWUN representatives, under a collective bargaining agreement.
“The 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 by 15th June 2015,” Haastrup said, indicating that dock workers at the sea port now enjoy much better working condition compared to what obtained in the pre-port concession era.
She lauded MWUN leadership for its maturity and patriotism during the negotiations, and called on dockworkers to reciprocate the terminal operators’ good gesture by showing committed to their jobs and shunning acts that could be inimical to the smooth running of the ports.
Under the signed agreement, the dockworkers would enjoy a wage increase ranging from 5 to 10 percent, depending on the type of cargo handled at the terminal where they work.
In the meantime, the National President, Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu has said that his association will remain resolute in its opposition to plans by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN) to collect the contentious professional operating fees even “in the face of incessant attacks by goons”.
Shittu said ANLCA is not in the same category with other groups masquerading as freight forwarding associations and would not join issues with them.
Shittu also said that some of the association’s officials were being harassed with Police by the CRFFN.
“I understand there is a petition to the Inspector General of Police, just as all the associations under one platform have threatened the Registrar of CRFFN that unless he takes drastic actions against ANLCA, that they are going to take drastic action against him.
“But the issue on ground can only escalate because all the stones being thrown have not given room for amicable resolution. We all know what is involved except somebody is the Ostrich and putting himself down.
“ANLCA stand has always been; yes we are ready to go ahead with CRFFN. Yes we are ready to have our own share of this money but no! We cannot share equally.
“From the circular of CRFFN that we have seen, it is clearly stated that fee they want to collect will be paid by the person doing declaration, and you can only do declaration by corporate Customs license, not by individuals.
“I don’t know why people are not ready to yield. Even in the United Nations, all countries may be equal in sitting but they are not equal in contribution and definitely they are not even equal in power and contribution to all the expense of United Nations.
“Even in ECOWAS, the headquarters is in Nigeria because Nigeria is seen as the big brother. I don’t know why NAFFAC that is situated at the airport will be crying more than the bereaved about sharing money in the port when it doesn’t even have anything to do at the port.
“I think we need to look inwards. We are just being funny with the collection. ANLCA is on the right part, anybody can invite us for any arrest like they did from the Inspector General of Police office, we will go there and explain ourselves,” he said.
The ANLCA leader revealed that disagreement on the collection of the professional operating fee broke out over the sharing formula.
He said, “We have never gotten to the level of apportioning a percentage to any of the associations. Even when I was having meetings with the other presidents of the association we have never gotten to that level. But we have had series of information coming from Frank Ukor especially that all associations are equal and I understand that Aniebonam has already also joined the bandwagon too.
“But the issue here is can it be equal? That is what is annoying our people. When you are telling people that you must act equally that the associations are the same; that the money will be shared equally.”

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