Lagos — Stevedoring operators have commenced moves to checkmate the recruitment of dockworkers by International Oil Companies, IOCs, in their crude oil terminals.
President of the National Association Stevedoring Companies, NASC, Mr. Bolaji Sunmola, disclosed that the stevedoring companies appointed by the Nigerian Ports Authority, NPA, were denied entrance in these IOCs’ terminals.
He also said that the IOCs have been giving frivolous reasons for not allowing the government appointed stevedores in the terminal, an action he said amounted to a circumvention of the nation’s laws because the operation of stevedores and their dockworkers are backed by laws.
“They see the presence of dockworkers in their terminals as a threat to their operations because these stevedores through their dockworkers keep an eye on the volume of crude that are exported through their terminals.
He stated: “By their action, they not only deny government accruable revenue, they also work against the local content law while denying the communities employment and development.”
He called on the NPA being the master stevedore and the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency, NIMASA, being the regulator of the maritime labour and welfare as well as other relevant government agencies to look into the matter and carry out an investigation.
Vice President of the association, Alhaji Aliu Bonbado, said since 2018 when the stevedoring companies were appointed as agents they have not been allowed into these terminals to work.
Bobando alleged that the IOCs have been engaging the illegal dockworkers to work in their terminals because they do not want to pay the international wages for dockworkers.
He explained that these stevedores are supposed to be paid per tonnage of crude oil loaded, but according to him, this was not the case with these IOCs.
He stated: “We have a manning scale, we have a standard, the dockworkers that do these jobs are supposed to be paid by tonnage and they should also pay by volume of crude produced.
“By the time the dockworkers are paid through the stevedoring companies they work for, they should be getting three times more than what they are earning now.
“The manning scale template is not applicable because it is not registered dockworkers that are currently working at these terminals being operated by the IOCs.”
According to the gazetted law, “Any person who, not being a registered dockworker, dock labour or stevedoring company, engages in the performance of stevedoring service or work in any work locations, commits an offence and is liable on conviction in addition to any penalty provided in any other law, to a fine of not less than N50,000.00 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or both.
“Any dock labour employer or stevedoring company who engages a dock worker or stevedore who is not registered with and certified by the agency commits an offence and is, in addition to any penalty provided in any other law, liable to a fine of not less than N1,000,000.00 for each person so employed.
“Any dock labour employer or stevedoring company that fails refuses neglects, evades, or omits to deduct and pay the 0.5 percent stevedoring charges collected by it violates these Regulations and is liable to a penalty of not less than N800,000.00.
“Any work location or its operator who fails refuses, or neglect to engage or use any registered dock labour, employer or stevedoring company licensed by the agency or dock worker or stevedore, is liable to a penalty of not less than N5,000,000.00in addition to the work station being sealed up.”