May Day: Nigerian Seafarers Earning Starving Wages, Suffering Discrimination Onboard Ships-Union
Fred Omotara, Lagos
The Nigerian merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association has lamented the late payment of local seafarers salaries by their employers. This is even as the group lamented about the discrimination against Nigerian seafarers when compared to what foreign seafarers enjoy onboard ships on the nations waters.
The National President of the senior seafarers cadre, Comrade Bob Yousou stated this in his May Day speech made available to newsmen at the weekend..
Yousou fumed that while foreign counterparts in Nigeria’s territorial waters get preferential treatment in form of early payment of salaries, the Nigerian seafarers’ salaries are unnecessarily delayed.
He added that the average Nigerian worker’s standard of living is poor, noting that the non existence of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for seafarers in most of the shipping companies was discouraging.
While bemoaning the spate of kidnapping, ritual killings, drug trafficking and banditry in the country, Yousou called on the Federal Government to tackle security challenges in the country.
As part of efforts at reducing foreign dominance in the nation’s Maritime sector, he called on the Federal Government to promote local content and Cabotage Act.
He charged the government to checkmate the influx of foreign seafarers into the nations maritime space, saying lack of enforcement of Cabotage Act has led to unemployment among Nigerian seafarers.
He however promised that the union would continue to support the policies of the government for efficiency in the sector.
While congratulating seafarers on the 2022 May Day celebration, Comrade Yousosu appealed to them that there is still hope for development of the country irrespective of the present state of insecurity.
His words, “We must be united to fight our common enemies, the slave master of our time.
“We as ITF affiliate, we use this opportunity to request that the Federal Government of Nigeria consider floating a national carrier.
“With a National carrier, cadets can have sea time training, and carry Nigerian cargoes across the globe, thereby reducing capital flight.
“A national carrier will also help to reduce unemployment as well as become the pride of the nation