Seafarers of the NLNG Ship Management Limited (NSML), a subsidiary of the Nigerian Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG), have decried a proposed 50 per cent cut in salary.
Speaking to journalists in Abuja, on Wednesday, a group representing the seafarers said the protest was a reaction to a mail sent to them by the company mandating all seafarers to sign and comply with the cut within seven days or risk losing their jobs.
The agitated group who have taken to the media to air their plights is calling on the Federal Government to intervene and put an end to the unjust proposed wage cut as it does not meet up with the economic situation of the country.
The group said in the mail signed by Mr Kennedy Agbonkhese, Crewing Manager, on behalf of the company, Seafarers are required to sign the copy of the wage cut letter within one week and the reduction was in view of the revised Bonny Gas Transport (BGT) wages rate to be
implemented by all NSML Shipboard personnel.
Condemning the drastic salary slash which is to take effect from Sept. 1, 2016, and the manner at which they were informed, one of the Seafares, Mr Titus Aligwe, revealed that Seafarers of other
nationalities within NSML were affected by only 20 per cent cut, which means giving them better consideration above indigenous staff.
He said that the Seafarers of other nationalities which includes Indians, Pakistanis, Russians, Croatians, among others were also challenging the wage cut.
Aligwe further disclosed that their office based colleagues at NSML, NLNG and Bonny Gas Transport (BGT) were not affected at all.
Lamenting the course, they explained that the proposed 50 per cent salary cut would subject them to earn far below their other counterparts in other companies.
Also speaking, another Seafarer, Peter Tobori explained that rather than salary cuts, they deserved an upward wage review which the company has failed to live up to its mandate since its inception in 2009.
The Seafarers explained that efforts to discuss with top management of NSML on Tuesday, ended at a deadlock as the company is determined to lay them off and employ cheap third-world officers. According to them this would kill the dreams to achieving the Nigerianization plan committed to ensure that Nigerian seafarers engaged are well represented on board BGT and NLNG Chartered Vessels.
They said that if caution is thrown to the wind, NSML would be headed same path of moribund as the defunct Nigerian National Shipping Line (NNSL).
According to the Seafarers, the newly proposed earning would amount to modern day slavery considering the harzards of the job, risks on the high sea, near death experiences, lonliness, isolation, amongst others.