DockWorkers Salaries Increased by 2000% since 2006 - Vicky Haastrup

DockWorkers Salaries Increased by 2000% since 2006 - Vicky Haastrup 

Kathy Kyari 

The pay of Nigerian dockworkers have witnessed a considerable boost of 2000% since the seaports were granted to private terminal operators in 2006, according to Princess (Dr.) Vicky Haastrup, Chairperson of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN). 

Speaking during the inaugural Nigerian Dockworkers Day, which was put up by the Shipping Correspondents Association of Nigeria (SCAN), Dr. Haastrup made this revelation.

She referred to them as unsung heroes crucial to port operations, Haastrup also provided assurance that terminal operators will continue to assist the welfare of dockworkers. 

"Before the concession, dockworkers were poorly paid. They did not have conditions of service. Indeed they did not have identifiable employers. Their safety, in the course of performing their duties, was not taken to heart. They were exploited, dehumanized and underpaid. But all of that has changed, thanks to the bold move of the Federal Government to reform and concession the ports in 2006”

“We recognize the importance of our dockworkers. They are professionals and essential workers. They are vital and crucial to port operation. Indeed without dockworkers, we cannot talk of effective port operation. The story of the success of port concession cannot be written without copious mention of the role of dockworkers.’

“Let me reiterate here today that terminal operators remain unflinchingly committed to the welfare of dockworkers despite the economic situation in the country,” she said.

Haastrup, who is also the Executive Vice Chairman of the ENL Consortium, praised the Maritime Workers' Union of Nigeria (MWUN) for making sure that in recent years the sector had not been harmed by dockworkers' strikes that resulted in a halt to operations.

“It is my pleasure to welcome you all to this maiden Dockworkers Day celebration. I believe SCAN will make it an annual event, and we assure you of our support. I wish you fruitful deliberation,” she remarked.

In his previous remarks, Mr. Eugene Agha, President of SCAN, indicated that SCAN's formal plans to start celebrating Dockworkers Day began in early 2022.

Agha pointed out that the projected annual value of world seaborne commerce is N33.2 trillion and said that given Nigeria's maritime location and the importance of its ports in fostering economic progress, the needs of dockworkers must be given top priority.

He thought back to the unusual responsibilities dockworkers played during the COVID-19 era, when they were among the only vital service providers who were required to continue working despite grave dangers to their lives.

“We are mindful that the International Transport Workers’ Federation and International Dockworkers’ Council have called for International Day of Action for Dockworkers on July 7 to recognize the important contribution dockworkers make to the global economy, the risks they face at work every day and their growing concerns for the future regarding attacks on their working conditions.”

“A tribute to fallen and injured comrades will be included. We want to see action being taken locally, regionally and globally on 7 July,” the SCAN President said.

Distinguished maritime figures attended the event, including Hon. Emmanuel Jime, Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers' Council (NSC), Prince Adewale Adeyanju, President General of the MWUN, Chief Joshua Ogunleye, Pioneer President of the Dockworkers Union, and Mr. Bolaji Akinola, Chief Executive of Ships & Ports.

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