Union calls for “real” increase in global seafarer wage

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The ITF and Nautilus International will call for an increase in monthly pay for the world’s lowest paid seafarers.

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Nautilus International, the maritime professionals’ trade union, are set to tell the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that the time has come for a significant rise in the global minimum wage for seafarers – the only internationally-agreed pay floor applied to an entire industry.

In June, Nautilus International General Secretary Mark Dickinson will lead the seafarers’ delegation on behalf of the ITF at talks within the Joint Maritime Commission – an ILO standing body that has brought together ship owners and seafarer representatives since 1920.

The Commission is responsible for setting the global minimum wage for seafarers – currently the equivalent of approximately $614 per month.

Mr Dickinson believes this is scant reward: “Crewing the world’s roughly 52,000 ships are approximately 1,647,000 seafarers, many of whom work dizzyingly long hours, in dangerous conditions, and for far too many, in return for a pittance.”

Seafarers commonly work over 90 hours a week, and are away from home for up to eight months at a time.

“When you consider what seafarers endure at work and the efficiencies that the merchant navy has achieved in recent years, as well as the importance of cargo carrying to the global community, it is clear that the time has come for a significant rise,” said Mr Dickinson.

“The case I will be making in Geneva is fundamentally a moral one – seafarers deserve a pay rise. Seafarers deliver for us every day, it is time we delivered for them.”

 

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