It is now an open secret that the apex maritime regulatory agency in the country, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), is the only non-unionised agency under the Ministry of Transport.
To this end, the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association said plans have reached an advanced stage to unionise employees of the agency so that the rights of the workers could be protected.
The president of the Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association, Engr Mathew Alalade disclosed during the Association’s Central Working Committee meeting held in Lagos, recently.
Alalade said it is regrettable that NIMASA is the only government parastatal that its direct workers are not under any union, but that with the move, the workers’ right in NIMASA would be protected, stressing that they need to be promoted, especially in the issues relating to delay in salary and wages payment which is against the labour law.
The Merchant Navy president noted that the agency has no labour or trade unions outfit and opined that their counterparts in Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Nigerian Shippers’ Council (NSC), and Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) all have unions that are protecting the interests of the workers.
According to him, we have NIWA with us as senior staff, NPA has Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) with them and it is only NIMASA that does not have union and they must be with us.
“We have taken steps to ensure that the workers are with us, but we observed that the people are afraid of the management should they join our union, the issue of late salary payment will not arise, issues bordering on massive sack or workers will not also arise, therefore, there is need for workers of NIMASA to be unionized.” he said.
He, however, noted that the association and the junior counterpart from MWUN are brainstorming on how to unionise the agency, and alleged that the move by management of NIMASA to sack over 600 workers is what maritime union could easily tackle on behalf of the workers, but it is unfortunate that the workers are not under any union.