There seems to be an uneasy calm at the Balore Transport and Logistics Nigeria limited over its acquisition by
SAS Shipping Agencies Services, a subsidiary of MSC Group.
The issues are not only the fact that the acquisition was carried out without active participation of the staff, but also that their liabilities and assets have been automatically transfered to the new investors.
The workers, under the aegis of the
Senior Staff Association of Shipping, Clearing & Forwarding Agencies SSASCFA (TUC Affiliate) and their junior counterparts of the Maritime Workers Union of Nigeria MWUN (NLC Affiliate) of the local branches are demanding that they should be given the rights of first refusal as to whether they would like to continue with the new investors or not.
Specifically, the workers are faulting their management’s decision to transfer their contracts, rights and benefits to SAS Shipping Agencies Services, a subsidiary of MSC Group.
Insider sources said that the workers, particularly, those that have put in over 20 years in the company are saying that they would rather retire with their full benefits than venturing into a’unfamiliar terrain’ adding that the labour and industrial relations laws stipulate that transfer of workers’ benefits under acquisition must be done with knowledge and consent of the affected staff.
They further contend that their fear are reinforced by similar experiences of the former staff of the company which had under gone about two to three acquisitions in the past, but they were seriously short changed at the end of the whole exercises under the new management.
Consequently, the workers last week Thursday, March 30, 2023, the day the new logo of the company was unveiled, converged, under what they call, ‘peaceful protest’ at the company’s headquarters at 26 creek Road Apapa to reaffirm their opposition to the acquisition.
The gathering which comprises both Junior and Senior Staff of both Unions reiterated their commitment and affirmation to opt for transfer of service but not Transfer of Rights and Benefits.
According to the chairman of the Senior Staff Association of Shipping, Clearing & Forwarding Agencies (SSASCFA) (Bollore Unit) Comrade Solomon Ntioket who addressed some select Journalists on the issue, the protest was to re-echo their stand on the lingering issue on Bollore acquisition by world’s largest shipping line – The MSC and the need to defray the workforce with their rights and benefits before fostering a hand of friendship with the new firm.
He also stated on the need for the reminder as the entire workforce of Bollore Transport and Logistics Nigeria Limited as at today do not know Bollore Management’s decision with their benefits with respect to number of years that staff have worked for.
He equally stated that Bollore Management’s blunt refusal to speak to the representatives of the workforce heightens the agitations of the workers.
Interestingly, and in what sources said confirmed the fears of the staff, MSC Group President, Diego Aponte, in a release said the MSC Group is pleased to confirm that its wholly owned subsidiary SAS Shipping Agencies Services has completed the acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics. The transaction was approved by all applicable regulatory authorities.
MSC’s acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics SAS and its affiliates (“Bolloré Africa Logistics Group”) highlights the long-term commitment of MSC to invest in African supply chains and infrastructure, supporting the needs of clients of both businesses.
MSC reiterates that it will operate Bolloré Africa Logistics Group as an autonomous entity with its portfolio of diversified partners, under a new brand to be unveiled in 2023 which was unveiled after the peaceful protest .
Philippe Labonne will continue his longstanding role at the helm of the business as President of Bolloré Africa Logistics now Africa Global Logistics.
MSC intends to continue enhancing the continent’s connectivity with the rest of the world and enable trade within Africa amid the implementation of the continental free trade (AfCFTA).
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Backed by MSC Group’s financial strength and operational expertise, Bolloré Africa Logistics will be able to meet all its commitments to governments, particularly regarding port concessions.
MSC Group President Diego Aponte said:
“We are delighted to welcome more than 21,000 new colleagues to the MSC family through our acquisition of Bolloré Africa Logistics. I wish to thank the Bolloré family, and Cyrille in particular, for having conducted the transaction in a smooth and efficient way and I congratulate them for having created such a well-established business.
The deal will strengthen MSC’s longstanding ties with Africa and will reinforce our commitment to the continent’s economic growth, including investment in the ships, shipyards, container terminals, logistic solutions, storage facilities, road and rail networks that will support and enhance trade across the African continent and with the rest of the world. Our strategy remains rooted in our values and in our long-term vision that protects over 150,000 employees in 155 countries worldwide.”