Unions to Fight Against Boskalis’ Fairmount Crew Replacement Plans

Dutch marine services and dredging company Boskalis is planning to lay off 20 crew members and replace them with a cheaper workforce, Dutch union Nautilus NL/FNV Waterbouw said.

The Dutch workers are employed with Fairmount Marine, a subsidiary of Boskalis, and have been deployed on five separate vessels.

The move was first announced in 2016 as part of Boskalis’ fleet rationalization plans, however, the decision was postponed following the action from the Dutch union.

In the meantime, a review of Fairmount Marine’s operations was carried out in anticipation of an improvement in financial performance, which would have prevented the action, according to Boskalis.

Nevertheless, the company’s board of directors has now decided to continue with the reorganization move, the union said.

“Boskalis told us that between now and mid 2019 its Dutch Fairmount crew will be replaced by crew from cheap labour countries, employed by employment agency Anglo Eastern. If Boskalis continues to pursue these plans we will contemplate taking them to court, along with possible industrial action,” Nautilus NL/FNV Waterbouw national secretary Marcel van Dam explained.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said it was standing ready to support its Dutch affiliate Nautilus NL/FNV Waterbouw as it resists plans by Boskalis “to ditch and replace 20 crew members on five vessels.”

“We are appalled to see Boskalis turn back the clock and recycle plans that were so effectively challenged last time around. The company’s profits – projected to reach EUR 150 million for 2017 – have been built with the help of its many crews around the world, and it is scandalous to see crew members being threatened with job losses in return. It is difficult not to see this as a case of simple social dumping, and the use of potentially lower skilled, cheaper and less protected workers in safety-critical roles. The ITF is ready to support our colleagues in the Netherlands in resisting this,” ITF inland navigation section chair Nick Bramley added.

Fairmount operates a fleet of 17 specialized, long-distance oceangoing anchor handling tugs (AHTs).