Global shipowner group and seafarers’ unions agree new three-year global minimum wage ‘safety net’ deal

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Agreement on a new deal for a global minimum wage for seafarers has been agreed at the UN International Labour Organization (ILO). The Geneva-based body convened the latest bipartite round of negotiations between shipowners and seafarers’ unions from across the world, coordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

The agreement applies universally to the rating grade of Able Seafarer and is widely recognised by the global shipping community as contributing to decent work and employment for seafarers, to support themselves and their families, recognising that the overall well-being of seafarers is inextricably linked to their economic well-being.

At the latest round of negotiations, the social partners agreed to structure the new three-year deal through annual increases, up to $673, from January 1 2023 to January 1 2025, as follows:

• $658 as of January 1, 2023.
• $666 as of January 1, 2024.
• $673 as of January 1, 2025.

During the previous round of talks, concluded at the UN ILO in September last year, shipowners and seafarers set the minimum wage to $648 from July 1, 2022.

Commenting on the outcome of the negotiations, Charles Darr (Swiss Shipowners’ Association), spokesperson for the shipowners group, said: “The global seafarer workforce is central to the safe and efficient flow of world trade, and they are among the unsung heroes of the pandemic. This new deal is a win-win for both shipowners and seafarers.

“It strikes a balance between rewarding seafarers for their incredible contributions to the global economy and ensures, at the same time, that shipping companies are able to remain sustainable and commercially viable, in light of the many challenges we are currently facing and those that lie ahead.”

Mark Dickinson (Nautilus International), Spokesperson for the seafarers group, added: “Today’s agreement recognises the huge sacrifices and professionalism of the men and women working at sea and is a testament to the collective milestones the social partnership between seafarers and shipowners have historically achieved, especially over the past few years.

“We look forward to continuing to work together alongside our social partners to safeguard financial stability for the world’s seafarers”.

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