Unions stand up against Boskalis’ job cuts proposal

Dutch dredging and energy services giant Boskalis in July said it would reduce its fleet and cut around 650 jobs globally, citing difficult market conditions.

However, Dutch maritime union Nautilus /FNV Waterbouw, backed by The International Transport Workers’ Federation, is now launching what its says is a fight to stop Boskalis from “sacking skilled seafarers and downgrading the quality of jobs.”

The company plans to cut 650 jobs worldwide, including 150 in the Netherlands, and scrap 24 ships.

According to the unions, in the Netherlands, Fairmount Marine — a subsidiary of Boskalis — is attempting to replace permanent ships’ officers with lower paid nationals by outsourcing its entire ship management and crewing to Anglo Eastern.

So far Boskalis and Fairmount have refused requests from Nautilus/FNV Waterbouw to see the financial data that the company says justifies its plan, the union says.

ITF maritime coordinator Jacqueline Smith said: “Boskalis continues to make a healthy profit, so it is clear that this is another case of crude social dumping — using highly vulnerable workers to do skilled work for low pay. The company plans to use this attack on seafarers to cut salaries, but with no regard for the impact on workers. The ITF is fully behind Nautilus/FNV Waterbouw in opposing and exposing these actions, which are bad for workers and bad for good business.”

Nautilus International general secretary Mark Dickinson added: “If there have to be redundancies as a result of declining volumes of work, then Boskalis should show us the financial data proving this. Then we can work with the company to ensure that the workers affected are redeployed — something that should be easy for a global company like Boskalis that employs more than 8,000 people.Until they do this we will fight this proposal and we welcome the backing of the ITF.”


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