Deal Reached on Higher Seafarer Wages

SeafarersIllustration. Image Courtesy: Pexels under CC0 Creative Commons license

Seafarers across the globe can look forward to higher wages as international bodies reached an agreement on an overall increase of 4.5 percent of minimum wage for an able seafarer.

Following two days of negotiations, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), convened in Geneva at the Joint Maritime Commission (JMC) subcommittee on seafarers wages to review the International Labour Organization (ILO)’s minimum seafarer wage.

It has been agreed to update the minimum wage for an able seafarer by USD 27 over the next three years. The wages will provide an overall increase of 4.5 percent on the current rate of USD 614, with an increase of USD 4 as of  July 1, 2019, followed by an increase of USD 7 as of January 1, 2020 and a final increase of USD 16 as of January 1, 2021.

The change was ascribed due to the calculation that the USD 614 wage was below the purchasing power stated in the ILO report prepared for the meeting. This is in particular due to economic forecasts and the volatility of the shipping industry.

“This was a difficult negotiation with two very different assessments about what the future holds for shipping and seafarers,” admitted Mark Dickinson, spokesperson for the seafarers’ group.

“There was strong opposition from the shipowners’ side for a significant increase. However, I am pleased that at the end pragmatism and common sense prevailed and the social partners worked their way forward to recognise the fundamental role seafarers play within the industry.

“We will continue to work together to find ways to ensure that the ILO formula used as the basis for these negotiations is fair and reflects the reality for seafarers, but the impact of this session of the JMC negotiation on the global seafaring community is undoubtedly a good and equitable result,” he added.

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