IBF Concludes Second Round of Negotiations for 2015 Framework Agreement

The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) and JNG (Joint Negotiating Group) met in Tokyo February 19-20 to continue discussions aimed at a new IBF Framework TCC (Total Crew Cost) Agreement following the first round of discussions held in St. Petersburg in October 2013 on the occasion of the 10th Anniversary of the International Bargaining Forum (IBF).

IBF Concludes Second Round of Negotiations for 2015 Framework Agreement

Both sides outlined their responses to each other’s claims, as presented in St Petersburg, but little progress was made on the key issue of a pay increase with both ITF and the JNG setting out their assessments of the shipping market going forward.

The talks ended yesterday with a commitment to return in April in London for further discussions.

Commenting on the two days of intense negotiation, David Heindel, Chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section, who chaired the talks said: “We have made some progress but clearly there is some way to go. The key sticking point is the industry’s ability to afford a pay increase for our members who have suffered the brunt of the financial collapse and its impact on world trade. We have differing views about that but the past two days have helped greatly to clarify the rationale behind many of the items that make up the JNG’s claim.”

Speaking at the IBF meeting in Tokyo, the JNG Chairman Mr. Tsutomu Iizuka said: “The JNG has commenced the 2014 negotiation process and has engaged in open dialogue with the ITF. There is certainly some common understanding that shipowners have suffered financially over the past few years, but both parties will actively engage to find a joint approach over the coming months.”

The IBF next meets in London April 14-16, 2014. The final round of negotiations is scheduled for June 3-5.

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 International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) represents 684 unions in 140 countries including maritime affiliates throughout the world representing in excess of 600,000 seafarers.

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.

SIU, February 21, 2014

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