Both sides confirmed their support, in principle, for the outcome of officer level interim discussions held between forums, and outlined their responses to each other's outstanding claim items. However, it became clear that there remained concerns over some core contractual demands as well as the quantum of any wage increase.
The talks therefore ended today without an agreement.
It was, however, agreed that two discussion groups will be formed to continue dialogue throughout the remainder of 2017 and to keep the lines of communication open to see if consensus can be reached between the two sides.
Commenting on the two days of difficult negotiations, Dave Heindel, Chair of the ITF Seafarers' Section, who chaired the talks said:
'We have made some progress, but at this stage the prospect of concluding an agreement before the current one expires looks remote. We want to keep the lines of communication open and see if we can progress matters between now and the end of the year.”
Speaking at the IBF meeting in Tokyo, the JNG Chairman, Mr. Masami Sasaki, said:
‘This round of negotiations have turned out to be a difficult one at a time when the industry is in a challenging economic situation, however there were commitment efforts shown by both parties. We hope to achieve a positive outcome for both parties through continued negotiation.’
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Notes to editors
The IBF was formed in 2003 as a mechanism for collective bargaining between maritime employers and maritime unions over the wages and conditions of employment for seafarers serving on foreign flag ships covered by ITF Special Agreements.
Maritime employers are represented by the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), the International Shipping Employers' Group (ISEG) which incorporates the International Maritime Managers’ Association of Japan (IMMAJ) and the Taiwanese company Evergreen, and the Korean Shipowners' Association.
Together they form the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) which allows maritime employers to present to the ITF a coordinated view of employers from across the world.
The IBF negotiations include both central negotiations and local negotiations which allow for development of core principles which can then be incorporated into specific local arrangements. This unique approach to pay negotiations is the only example of international collective bargaining.