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Industry Negotiates Seafarer Wage Rise, Dockers' Rights

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By MarEx 2018-02-24 21:44:34

The International Bargaining Forum (IBF), shipping’s largest industrial relations collective, concluded final negotiations for a 2019-2022 IBF Framework Agreement on February 22.

An agreement was signed off for a salary increase of 2.5 percent from January 1, 2019 with a review scheduled after two years. Also agreed was re-grading of the Warlike Area off the coast of Somalia to a High Risk Area and the addition of a Warlike Area 12 nautical miles off the mainland coast of Yemen. 

New terms were agreed for Article 4, Non-Seafarers Work or the “Dockers’ Clause,” which clarify dockers’ rights to carry out lashing and other cargo handling services in ports. Ray Familathe, ILWU international vice-president, said: "This is a tremendous achievement for dockers across the world. Lashing is a key part of a docker’s role. History has been made today."

Captain Rajesh Tandon, who chaired the talks, said: “The past 14 months have been particularly tough. The forum originally met in Tokyo last July, with the full intention to conclude at that time. However, it quickly became apparent that neither party was in a position to move at that stage. A lot of work has gone on in the interim, including concessions to address the Dockers’ concerns, which has allowed the forum to re-negotiate and conclude a mutually acceptable agreement.”  

With a rapidly growing presence, IBF collective bargaining agreements cover in excess of 200,000 seafarers. The IBF was formed in 2003 as a mechanism for collective bargaining between maritime employers and maritime unions over the wages and conditions of employment for seafarers serving on foreign flag ships covered by ITF Special Agreements.

Maritime employers are represented by the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), the International Shipping Employers' Group (ISEG), which incorporates the International Maritime Managers’ Association of Japan (IMMAJ) and the Taiwanese company Evergreen, and the Korean Shipowners' Association. Together they form the Joint Negotiating Group, which allows maritime employers to present to the ITF a coordinated view of employers from across the world.