Ex-dockworkers protest over non-payment of entitlement
According to him, there is a tonnage operation and there is time-related wages, which stands for permanent employment.
The workers who staged a peaceful protest in front of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) headquarters in Marina, Lagos told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that what they were paid was on tonnage.
The ex-workers said that apart from the unpaid minimum dockworkers’ salary, the annual increment of 10 per cent on the minimum wage had also piled up.
ENL Consortium is the operator of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex, Apapa.
The workers, who spoke through Mr Hope Ogolekwu, said that though the company had disengaged them, their full entitlements should be paid.
They also demanded a revisit and review of the payment of N350,000 redundancy, terminal and hazardous benefits .
Ogolekwu frowned at the non-remittance of their contributory pension funds from 2006 to 2011.
He further alleged that the management of the terminal did not pay their annual leave allowance for 10 years.
``We did not get our tax clearance certificate and no health insurance,’’ Ogolekwu said.
In a reaction, the management of ENL Consortium disowned the dockworkers who staged a protest at the NPA headquarters.
The Legal Adviser of ENL Consortium, Mr Uzamot Boye, said that at the time of the protest, its staffs were all at their duty posts inside the port carrying out their various tasks.
``It is malicious to say our dockworkers protested. It is not true. All our workers are at work.
``Those who protested were those who have since been disengaged from the port and who have been paid their terminal benefits. You can verify this from the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN).
``All our workers are at their duty posts as we speak. They are happy on their jobs. They are all very busy,’’ NAN quotes Boye as saying.
He said that the Maritime Workers’ Union of Nigeria (MWUN) would have issued notice and been in the forefront of the protest if the protesters were genuine port workers.
It would be recalled that the same set of people had carried out similar protest in the past at the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) headquarters in Apapa but were told that they had been disengaged from service and due allowance paid to them.
``ENL Consortium is a people-focused organisation. We empower our people and enable them to be the best.
``Our Executive Vice Chairman/Chief Executive Officer places the welfare of workers above every other consideration,’’ NAN quotes him as saying.
Mr Adewale Adeyanju, the President, Dockworkers Branch of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN), confirmed that the protesting dockworkers had been disengaged from the port and paid their entitlements as stipulated under the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) agreement, warning against the return of thuggery at the port.
Adeyanju said issues affecting maritime labour must be discussed at the table with employers, rather than the resort to the arm-twisting tactics of the past.
He said the payment of gratuity to disengaged dockworkers happened for the first time in the history of the maritime industry in the country this year, ``a development which highlights a big plus for both the union and terminal operators’’.
``For the past 30 to 40 years, we have not had anything like terminal benefit for dockworkers and it is under our administration that we are getting what a responsible dockworker ought to get. It is a starting point in the industry,” Adeyanju said.
He said the dockworkers that elected to leave the service of their employers were misguided on what they were entitled to collect as retirement benefits.
He said, “This has never happened before and I think someone is inciting these dockworkers by saying they are entitled to N33,000 a month plus the amount of tonnage they stevedore. But you know this is not correct.’’
``I think there is a mix up somewhere and I have addressed all of them to let them know that we have permanent staff and people that are on tonnage.
``You are paid on a daily basis on the amount of tonnage that you stevedore,” Adeyanju said.
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