ITF, Maritime Employers Hammer Out Wage Increase for Seafarers

After a lengthy and challenging negotiation process, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has sealed a new framework agreement with maritime employers represented by the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG).

JNG is comprised of 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.

The new four-year agreement relates to the employment of seafarers on JNG vessels worldwide and includes a salary increase of 2.5 pct from January 1, 2019. The wages are subject to review after two years.

Other key points of the agreement include enhanced welfare support for seafarers, an increase in JNG members’ rebate from the ITF Welfare Fund to 16 pct, with an additional 2 pct available based on an incentive system along with re-grading of the Warlike Area off the coast of Somalia to a High-Risk Area and the addition of a Warlike Area 12 nm off the mainland coast of Yemen.

In addition, changes to various contractual clauses have been agreed, including a revision to the article covering non-seafarers’ work effective March 1, 2018.

“It is important that we use this opportunity to draw on experience from the existing agreement, to re-think its organization, to clarify and simplify the language and to secure a solid, usable agreement that will form the base in the coming years of our relationship,” Dave Heindel, chair of the ITF Seafarers’ Section, said.

“The past 14 months have been particularly tough. The forum originally met in Tokyo last July, with the full intention to conclude at that time. However, it quickly became apparent that neither party was in a position to move at that stage. A lot of work has gone on in the interim, including concessions to address the Dockers’ concerns, which has allowed the forum to re-negotiate and conclude a mutually acceptable agreement,” the JNG Spokesperson, Capt. Rajesh Tandon, who chaired the talks, said.

 “The fact that we’ve been able to renegotiate and conclude on a new agreement, with the current challenging market conditions, is a testament to the IBF process and the members representing both the unions and the employers,” JNG chairman, Capt. Koichi Akamine, said.

The International Bargaining Forum (IBF), was created 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.

IBF CBAs cover in excess of 200,000 seafarers.