Foreign seafarers to pay union dues in Nigeria

Tayo Oladipupo

Plans are underway for foreign seafarers operating within the Nigerian coastal waters to pay parts of their earnings to the unions overseeing the affairs of seafarers in Nigeria.

Engr. Matthew Alalade who made this known to our correspondent in an exclusive chat in Lagos, recently said that the resolution was reached in the recent International Transport Federation (ITF) meeting held in Italy.

Comrade Alalade who is an Auditor in the Trade Union Congress (TUC), maintained that the Nigerian maritime senior staff union is making moves to reach out to the unions of the foreigners operating in Nigerian waters to pay rebate to the union in Nigeria.

He said the union agreed to the resolution because if the foreigners are made to stop operating in Nigeria, the country has no indigenous seafarers to take up the jobs of the foreigners.

Alalade doubles as the National President, Nigerian Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association (NMNOWTSSA).

He called on the federal government to upgrade the nation’s training institutions to be able to issue Certificates of Competence (CoC) up to Master Mariners, Marine Engineers in order to equip Nigerian seafarers to take up jobs onboard vessels.

His words, “I want you to know that seafaring job is an international job, mind you, your people are trading in other countries too and they are termed as experts.

“When I was sailing, I was in UK, I was termed as an expert too. It is a global thing.

“Early this year, we had a meeting on Cabotage in Italy and these guys suggested if we should go against foreigners or share their union dues, we came with a resolution that there should be an understanding between the two unions.

“Now, we must be getting prepared to know their union over there that they should pay some rebates to the union here if they are operating here.

“If we say it should be an eye for an eye, NIMASA has tried it but we don’t have people to replace these people because our training has not been upgraded to higher level to issue COC that accommodate all cadre of people on water.

“We must take it softly about this Cabotage of a thing and our schools should be upgraded to be issuing out first class COC

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