The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Nautilus International, the maritime professionals trade union, are set to tell the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that the time has come for a significant rise in the global minimum wage for seafarers - the only internationally-agreed pay floor applied to an entire industry.
In June, Nautilus International general secretary Mark Dickinson will lead the seafarers’ delegation on behalf of the ITF at talks within the Joint Maritime Commission - an ILO standing body that has brought together ship owners and seafarer representatives since 1920.
The Commission is responsible for setting the global minimum wage for seafarers – currently the equivalent of approximately USD614 per month.
Mr Dickinson believes this is scant reward: “Crewing the world’s roughly 52,000 ships are approximately 1,647,000 seafarers, many of whom work dizzyingly long hours, in dangerous conditions, and for far too many, in return for a pittance.”
Seafarers commonly work over 90 hours a week, and are away from home for up to eight months at a time.
“When you consider what seafarers endure at work and the efficiencies that the merchant navy has achieved in recent years, as well as the importance of cargo carrying to the global community, it is clear that the time has come for a significant rise,” said Mr Dickinson.
“The case I will be making in Geneva is fundamentally a moral one - seafarers deserve a pay rise. Seafarers deliver for us every day, it is time we delivered for them."
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The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) creates borderless solidarity among transport workers in every corner of the globe. We support 670 affiliate trade unions in 140 countries, representing 19.7 million workers.
Nautilus International is the trade union and professional organisation for maritime professionals at sea and ashore. We represent 22,000 maritime professionals including ship masters (captains), officers, officer trainees (cadets) and shipping industry personnel, such as ship pilots, inland navigation workers, vessel traffic services operators (similar to air traffic control), harbourmasters, seafarers in the oil and gas industry, and shore-based staff.
These quotes are part of a longer comment piece by Mark Dickinson, full version available on request.
The Joint Maritime Commission includes ship owner and seafarer representatives. The next meeting to decide the global minimum wage agreement takes place in Geneva on 20 & 21 June. For more information visit http://www.ilo.org/sector/activities/sectoral-meetings/WCMS_619085/lang--en/index.htm