Maritime Roundtable begins in Morocco


The International Federation of Tranport Workers (ITF) is holding a major new style of event in Casablanca, Morocco, starting today (Tuesday) that will bring together – and give a voice to – a new generation of seafarer and docker grassroots activists.

The Maritime Roundtable is a groundbreaking new three-day activists’ forum aimed at building links between dockers’ and seafarers’ unions and helping to shape the future of the ITF’s campaigning on flags of convenience.

Alongside over 200 activists and future union leaders from 50 countries attending there will be a host of virtual participants who can join the debates via the internet and live online reporting of the event.

ITF Maritime Coordinator Steve Cotton said: “The MRT is a new initiative that has sprung from the ongoing review of our flag of convenience campaign. As part of that review we decided, in consultation with all of the seafarers and dockers in the ITF, that it was crucial to have a look at our policy and how we implement it.

“The MRT is a vehicle for bringing together the people who don’t usually get an opportunity to come to ITF policy meetings, so that they can come up with creative ideas and explore methods of campaigning that will ensure that the FOC campaign is as valid today as it was 60 years ago.”

He continued: “We’re very optimistic that there will be really good outcomes from this meeting, which has been heavily oversubscribed. We’ll be running a workshop environment where we’ll be giving everyone the opportunity to express themselves.

“There’ll be no attempt to stick to formal processes. The idea is to create new ideas and new methods. What we’ll do with those ideas is bring them back to the policy bodies for seafarers, dockers and the flag of convenience campaign, and develop and implement them. The MRT is a serious initiative to try and improve the coverage of the flag of convenience and the port of convenience campaigns, and to protect and give leverage and power to workers operating in the maritime industry.”