There seems to be palpable fear among workers in the maritime industry over job loss, Investigation has shown.
The fear is borne out of an already fragile economy, with businesses poised to be decimated in fallout from the COVID-19 Pandemic, job employers in the maritime industry have threatened to lay off staff who have added no value to the organization during the COVID 19 pandemic.
Some of the maritime stakeholders who spoke to our correspondent confirmed that indeed there would be job loss in the industry due to the effect of the pandemic in the nation’s maritime industry.
In a chat with our correspondent recently, the Vice President of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) revealed to our correspondent, that there could be up to 35 percent job loss in the industry, informing that some shipping companies and terminal operators are already thinking of laying off some of their staff who had added little or no valuable contribution to the company since lockdown.
He said the shipping companies confirmed that if they could work with 60 percent of their staff efficiently during the lockdown, there is no need to keep the remaining 40 percent adding that Post Covid -19 will be terrible for some workers in the Industry.
Speaking also the Public Relations Officers of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Stanley Ezenga also noted that indeed there would be job loss in the industry, stating that he already on the verge of laying three of its staff he knew he can do away with, has having them will amount to wasting of resources.
According to him, “There is no doubt about the fact that there would be job loss. Since the inception of the lockdown, some staff have not been going to work and their impact has not been felt, after normalcy, they may be asked to go home, because those ones who are not adding value to the industry will be laid off.
“For me I am considering laying off three or four of my staff that have added no value during the lock down since their impact as well as their absence are not felt there will indeed be job loss.
“Only those adding values will be retained, employers won’t want to waste their money on paying salary to those that are not adding value,” he said.
Speaking in the same vein the Deputy National President of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT), Dr. Alban Igwe, noted that indeed there would be job loss, especially in the private sector of the industry but also noted that there would be job gains. He added that those who have added skills and value to what they do have no reasons to express anxiety over losing their jobs.
In his words “A number of people working in private sector may lose their jobs as many of them lack the skills to actually work from home, and this will make employers evaluate what contributions they have been making in the industry.
“If there are no such skills needed to work from home, a person’s job is already on the line, a good player does not look for a good team, good team looks for a good player”, he said.
Emphasizing that those who have the capacity to work from home during the pandemic era had actually accomplished more.
He said the only reason government may not lay off staff would be as a result of running with a budget.
Lending his voice as well, the Director General Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), Mr. Segun Kadiri opines that there would be global job loss due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic, but stated that, the maritime industry might lose more workers as the nation is driven by import which has drastically reduced since the outbreak of the COVID 19 pandemic.
“Globally there is a general job loss due to the effect of covid-19 which won’t be palatable not just in the maritime industry which is also an international business that cuts across different work sphere. So, what goes on outside will probably affect the inside. So, the total job loss will be apparent, but you know why the maritime industry might be really affected would be as a result of lack of imports. You would quite agree that the country is an import dependent country so, those who have not been able to receive any cargo or consignment might be forced to lay off staff,” he said.
However, when asked about the possible way to avert laying of staff in the industry, he said “Looking beyond the pandemic, the country hasn’t been of international standard with the report of IMF about the economic outlook of the country that there are lots of internal factors limiting the growth of business in the country; Maritime in particular. So, the government should buckle up, face the infrastructure, lack of equipment, among others that’s the micro factor the government should work on, with or without covid-19 issues,” he concluded.
Reacting to the anxiety among workers in the industry the Corporate Affairs Manager SIFAX Group, Muyiwa Akande, emphasized and assured, that the organization would not lay off any of its workers, neither would there be salary cut stating that despite the fact that revenue cut has dropped, the company will do its best to satisfy its workers.
“I can tell you that there is no salary cut whatsoever at SIFAX group, staff still got their salaries paid last month and are even prepared to get this month salary.
“ There are no challenges with staff whatsoever despite the fact that revenue income has dropped but then, no staff has been denied his or her benefits and remuneration, the company has been taking care of its staff,” he stated.
It is only hoped that employers of labour will be sympathetic to the plights of their covid-19 impoverished employees as the latter was not instrumental to the breakout. If anything, the post covid-19 era will show how reliable, magnanimous and dependable the employer is to the welfare of his employee who has been there for him all this while.
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