Law News
Labour Faults Lawmakers’ Move To Repeal NPA Act

Organised labour has picked holes in the proposed Nigerian Ports Harbours Authority Bill 2015, saying the law if allowed will impact the maritime sector and the workers negatively.

The Ports and Harbour Authority Bill, which seeks to repeal the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) Act, 1955, as amended, had been passed by the Senate and is awaiting concurrent passage by the House of Representatives.

The workers under the aegis of Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria (MWUN) and Maritime branch of Senior Staff Association of Communications, Transport and Corporation (SSACTC), led by Adewale Adeyanju, president general of MWUN, are calling on the lawmakers to jettison the passage of the bill in the overall interest of the sector.

Adeyanju, who contended that no unions’ representative or stakeholders in the labour circle was invited to air their views during hearing on the bill before the House of Representatives, threatened to shut port operations nationwide if the bill was passed.
He said that if the bill was allowed to become a law, it would lead to the sack of more than half of the workers into the already saturated labour market.

“We have examined the Act that set up NPA and do not understand the reasons for the bill, except to provide an opportunity for few people to deny government huge revenue accruable to it through the sector,’’ he said.
The MWUN president said that passage of the bill portends negative consequences for the country’s security as it cedes harbour, jetty and terminal operations into private hands.

“This is not good in view of the influx of illegal arms and ammunition into the country which is evidence in insurgency, kidnapping and other violent crimes across the country.

“You will also recall the discovery of over 440 cartons of weapons in containers in two operations in the ports by some government agencies and port workers,’’ Adeyanju said.

According to him, the bill in section 15 (4) gives the new authority power to employ on pensionable terms and conditions. This effectively institutionalises the evil of casualisation of workers and negates the provisions of the government’s Pension Reform Act 2004 as amended. He further said that that NPA has over 14, 000 pensioners it pays monthly pension but that the bill did not make provision for settlement of workers whose services are not transferred.

Adeyanju appealed to the National Assembly not to pass of the bill to avoid total shut of port operations. He cautioned that the passage of the bill into law
would vest on the authority sole ownership of the ports and Harbours in Nigeria on behalf of the government.
The maritime workers disrupted port operations on Tuesday, during a protest to register their displeasure with the proposed law.

Source: JOSHUA BASSEY
The TML News

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