The National President, Nigeria Merchant Navy Officers and Water Transport Senior Staff Association NMNOWTSSA, Comrade Bob Yousou has promised to unionise more companies for the year 2023 in a bid to boost membership base of the union.
Engineer Yousou in a chat with newsmen recently,also assured members of the association that the union will closely work with the Trade Union Congress (TUC) and International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) respectively, in furtherance to promote and protect seafarers rights.
The President said that more professional seafarers are embracing the association because of the reforms and innovation under his leadership noting that NMNOWTSSA has built a robust working relationship with relevant and critical stakeholders in the maritime industry in the last three years of his administration.
Speaking on some of the achievements recorded since his election in 2020, the union leader affirmed that 80% of his promises have been achieved noting that “We are also working round the clock to get more members to be part of the union and you can see that many professional seafarers are embracing the association and they are proud of joining us because of our relevance.
“By the special grace of God also, we have been able to unionise more companies under my administration. Not only unionising them, we also assist in Collective Bargaining Agreement that is being reviewed every two years. And I want to believe we have tried our best .
“By His grace, this year I want to unionise more companies , more CBAs for members . Therefore, our priority for the year is to ensure that we achieve this target. That’s number one; then number two, will be to increase our ITF membership.
“We will also work round the clock to get a befitting Guest House for the association and also see how we can reconcile with Trade Union Congress (TUC) in terms of affirmation fees,” Engineer Yousou stated.
While affirming the union’s commitment to tackling the proliferation of Merchant Navy outfits in the country, Yousou called on seafarers to consult stakeholders to authenticate which group is genuine in the seafaring profession.
According to him, the union has introduced strategies on how to cater for the well being of foreign seafarers who are trapped in Nigeria adding that interventions from the NMNOWTSSA has proffered solutions to some of the challenges faced by them. He said “Note that we are yet to get to the promised land as our expectations are quite high. As of today, we are by ITF affiliation obliged to care for the welfare and wellbeing of both Nigerian and international seafarers alike.
“We also intervene as well as proffer solutions to seafarers challenges , it behoves on us to see that seafarers from other nationalities are protected and taken good care of wherever they find themselves in the line of duty within our territorial waters.
“Besides, we do visit prisons and correctional facilities where these local and foreign seafarers are detained for alleged offense for the sole aim of securing their freedom or release,”he affirmed.