Significant Increase in Dockworkers’ Wages Over 17-Year Period Revealed

Terminal operators at Nigerian seaports have announced a remarkable increase of 2000% in dockworkers’ salaries over the last 17 years. This revelation came during the maiden edition of Dockworkers Day, organized by the Shipping Correspondent Association of Nigeria (SCAN) and themed “Dockworkers: The Unsung Heroes of Nigerian Port Reforms.”

Before the port reform of 2006, dockworkers in Nigeria faced low wages and lacked proper employment conditions. Princess Vicky Haastrup, Chairman of the Seaport Terminal Operators Association of Nigeria (STOAN), shared that the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and terminal operators had transformed the sector.

Haastrup highlighted the improvements, stating, “Today, the average take-home pay of a dock worker has increased by more than 2,000 per cent over what it was in 2006. The CBA between the union and terminal operators has also ensured industrial harmony at the port. Before the concession, dockworkers were poorly paid with no conditions of service and no identifiable employers. Their safety in the course of performing their duties was not taken to heart; they were exploited, dehumanized, and underpaid.”

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She went on to commend the federal government for initiating and implementing the 2006 port reform, emphasizing its transformational impact on the maritime sector.

Comrade Adewale Adeyanju, the President-General of MWUN, also lauded dockworkers’ dedication to sustaining port development and operations. He expressed concern over the non-renewal of expired lease agreements of some terminal operators in the port, emphasizing the need to increase port efficiency and eliminate overlaps in regulatory responsibilities.

Hon. Emmanuel Jime, the Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Shippers Council (NSC), acknowledged the crucial role played by dockworkers in the economy. He stressed the significance of their contributions to the smooth functioning of ports.

The keynote speaker, Dr. Samuel Babatunde, Registrar of the Port & Terminal Management Academy of Nigeria, highlighted the substantial benefits derived from the port reform of 2006. According to him, the reform reduced cargo pilferage by 40% and increased efficiency by 85%. Dockworkers’ welfare packages, including remuneration and allowances, have significantly improved, making dock labor a more attractive career choice.

Dr. Babatunde also noted an increase in dockworkers’ training, capacity, and certification, thanks to heavy investments in human capital development and sustainability by terminal operators.

The port reform of 2006 has undeniably played a pivotal role in enhancing the efficiency and welfare of dockworkers while improving the overall performance of Nigerian seaports.

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