ENL Consortium threatens protesting dockworkers with sack,As NIMASA mediates for peace
ENL Consortium, a private operator of Terminals C and D of the Lagos Port Complex (LPC), Apapa has said that it is ready to pay off dockworkers that have elected to quit their jobs.
The workers had engaged in peaceful protests against what they considered as unfair management policy towards employees staffing.
The timely intervention of the management of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), may have however saved the day as the Director General, Dr. Dakuku Peterside sued for peace.
While briefing the DG on the reasons for their protest, the spokesman of the workers, Mr. Lekan Afolabi had said that they have been working at the ENL terminal for the past 10 years without appointment letters.
He said they were only recently issued the letters after they made their grievances known to the ENL Management.
To this end, the workers spokesperson appealed to the DG to intervene on the issue of their terminal benefits in order to avoid chaos in the Ports.
However, legal Adviser of ENL Consortium, Barrister Uzamot Boye, in a press statement issued by the company in Lagos at the weekend, said that contrary to claims in certain quarters, workers were issued with valid employment letters when they joined the company.
He said, “It must be on record that these set of dockworkers elected to leave the terminals by themselves. Those of them who want to continue working with us, and who are in the majority, are at their job posts as we speak but the few that want to leave are free to do so.
“We have been meeting with the union and officials of the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to work out modalities for their payments, which we are ready to pay in full in consonance with the NJIC agreement.”
Describing ENL Consortium “a people-focused organization”, he said “we empower our people and enable them to be the best. Our Executive Vice Chairman/CEO places the welfare of workers above every other consideration.
“The few dockworkers who want to be paid off should be patient and work with their leaders. They will receive their full retirement benefits in line with negotiated agreements,” Boye said.
The ENL Legal adviser also accused the few aggrieved dockworkers of causing disruptions and breaching the peace at the ports for no justifiable reasons.
Responding, the DG had thanked the Dockworkers for being orderly and peaceful in their demands. He said that since the Agency regulates maritime labour practices in the country, he would do everything legal within his powers to ensure that their grievances are adequately addressed.
“A labourer is worthy of his rewards, in this regard we shall ensure that no Dockworker in all the Seaports in Nigeria is short changed”, the NIMASA DG said.
Dr. Dakuku charged the Dockworkers to continue to be law abiding while assuring that the Agency would resolve the dispute through a tripartite meeting with the leadership of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria, ENL Management and NIMASA.
It should be noted that NIMASA is responsible for the welfare of Dockworkers and Seafarers in line with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Decent Work Agenda and the MLC 2006 Convention which Nigeria recently ratified.