Russian crew members on board the Russian-owned, Cambodia-flagged Captain Kang have successfully won five months’ back pay owed to them after taking strike action for six days in the Korean port of Pyeongtaek.
Following their refusal to help release the ship’s cargo of wood chips – and the intervention of the ITF – the owners have now agreed to pay USD110,000 in wages owed to 15 crew members. The crew only lifted their action when the company delivered the cash to them on board.
The crew were assisted in their claim through team working between the ITF in Russia, Korea and Japan. The ITF in Vladivostok, Russia has a history of dealing with the owners, and was involved in assisting the seafarers through their struggle to win their back pay. The ITF in Japan also pursued the Japanese agents who organised the crew contracts. And the ITF in Korea – which had helped crew on the same ship to win back wages previously owed last October – helped support the Captain Kang crew through their strike action and were involved in the settlement reached with the owners. The industrial action also received wide media coverage in Russia, news websites and elsewhere.
Petr Osichansky, ITF inspector in Vladivostok, reported that: “Only after the company paid out the total amount of USD110,000 in wages owed for the whole period, including March, did the crew open the holds“.
H K Kim, ITF coordinator in Korea, said that: “This owner has several sister ships, which have seen problems with owed wage over and over again. The problem has yet to be solved due to the blurriness of ownership. However, one of the ships has now been sold to a third party, and we hope to see better conditions there“.
ITF Seafarers, March 25, 2014; Image: Shipspotting