Labour leader accuses ship owners of discriminatory wages

PHOTO: Tonye Bakare

• Nigerians are paid N94,000, foreigners N300,000
The National President of the Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA), Engineer Matthew Alalade has accused indigenous ship owners of discriminatory conditions of service against local seafarers.

Speaking in Lagos during a parley with journalists, Alalade said that the condition of service for Nigerian seafarers was abysmally poor compared to what their foreign counterparts collect as remuneration.

He urged ship owners to encourage Nigerian seafarers engaged aboard their vessels by treating them equally with their foreign counterparts, adding that, “if Nigeria wants to have people that will work in the maritime sector in the future, then indigenous seafarers must be encouraged with good package as the foreigners.”

He noted that the poor remuneration for Nigerian seafarers has made some of them to look for better working conditions outside the country, which he said, has negative implications on Nigeria in the eyes of the international community.

Alalade alleged that local ship owners cut corners when it comes to Nigeria seafarers but goes outside to employ foreigners to work aboard their vessels with better salaries and good working conditions.

“If Nigerian seafarers are placed on the same salary as those from other countries, it will bring about a robust and healthy competition,” he added.

He maintained that the foreign sailors were not better than their Nigerian counterparts in qualifications or experience.

He also alleged that ship owners do not comply with the National Joint Industrial Council (NJIC) arrangement, and urged the Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) to put in place measures to ensure that ship owners do the needful as part of efforts to encourage local seamen.

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