By Ajibola Abayomi,
June 27, 2018.
Seafarers under the aegis of Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA) have accused ship owners of frustrating the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).
This is as leaders and members of Ship Owners Association of Nigeria (SOAN) and Nigerian Indigenous ship owners Association (NISA) were visibly absent at the 2018 Seafarers Day Celebration held in Warri within the week..
The seafarers alleged that their employers deliberately refused to attend the meetings called on several occasions to conclude and append their signatures to the agreement.
The Union lamented that the ship owners seem not to be interested in implementation of the agreement.
Speaking at the event, National President of the union, Comrade Matthew Alalade, maintained that much has not been achieved since CBA was reviewed in 2016.
He said, “This year’s theme is “Seafarers’ Well Being”. The big question is can there be wellbeing of seafarer without a standard CBA? The National Joint Industrial Council’s (NJIC) Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) expired in 2011 and its review commenced 2016, but up till date, this vital tripartite document still suffers in the hands of ship-owners who seem to be uninterested.
“They refuse to attend meetings to conclude and append their signatures to it. As we celebrate this year Seafarers day today, all hands must be on deck to ensure a safe workplace on board for them, accord them the respect they deserve and see that their rights and privileges are given to them and above all, their welfare should be marked up to international standards.
Speaking on the National Seafarers Development Programme, the President said, “we recognize the agency for the NSDP program that has started to yield dividend by way of providing sea time training for our Cadets on board foreign ships.
“We applaud the agency, but also wish that it beams its binoculars on Manning Agents. Some of these Manning Agents are alleged to collect large sum of money from unemployed seafarers before placing them on board.
Earlier, Director General of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Dr. Peterside Dakuku disclosed that the National Joint industrial Council (NJlC) has concluded negotiations on the conditions of service of Nigerian Seafarers, including the minimum wages payable to all categories of seafarers.
Peterside however threatened that the apex regulatory agency will report erring ship owners to the Pension Commission for appropriate sanctions, in line with the CBA.
He said it is expected that the agreement will be signed by all parties on the 28th of June, 20l8, while also assuring that the agency would go the whole length in ensuring that the CBA is implemented as agreed.
The NlMASA boss said issues relating to the seafarers wellbeing, including their welfare would continue to be dominant in all maritime labour activities.
The DG added that it was important to note that the International Labour Organization (lLO) Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 which Nigeria ratified in 20l3 made adequate provisions for seafarers’ welfare which if fully implemented will also guarantee their wellbeing.
He said: “This year’s theme has brought to the fore the need for employers to rededicate their efforts and resources towards enhancing the seafarers’ well being in terms of making the work place conducive with adequate provisions for the promotion of their mental health.
“As the World marks the 8th edition of the global celebration, our attention should be drawn to this year’s theme which is Seafarers’ “wellbeing” with particular focus on their mental health.
“There is no doubt that Nigerians Seafarers are faced with a lot of challenges that are work related and bordering on depression arising from lack of job opportunities and long hours of work without commensurate pay.”