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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.


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