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Four-Year Agreement Increases Wages and Workplace Protections for 250,000 Seafarers

Mike Schuler
Total Views: 1758
September 26, 2023

Seafarers’ unions and maritime employers have signed a four-year agreement that includes significant wage increases and workplace protections for over 250,000 seafarers.

The International Bargaining Forum (IBF) has agreed on terms for the 2024-2027 IBF Framework Agreement, which includes a 6 percent wage increase for seafarers over the next two years. The pay deal for 2026-27 will be negotiated in 2025.

The IBF is the forum that brings together the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the international maritime employers that make up the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG).

The agreement emphasizes the commitment to provide safe workplaces for seafarers, free of violence, discrimination, and harassment. It also recognizes the importance of safe working practices in cargo lashing to combat malpractice. A working group will focus on challenges related to new technology, alternative fuels, and climate change. The working group will also address concerns regarding seafarers’ hours of work, crewing levels, fatigue, and duration of employment.

The agreement also recognizes the importance of national cabotage provisions and aims to provide more seafarers with free internet access.

Both sides expressed satisfaction with the agreement and emphasized the need for a just transition and skills development in the industry.

“This has been a particularly complicated set of negotiations coming out of the Covid pandemic, which has taken a great deal of effort and compromise on both sides to get this right for the times,” said ITF spokesperson and ITF Seafarers’ Section Chair David Heindel. “This is a fair deal. We have agreed a working group that will look at the future needs of a changing industry with an eye on the needs of seafarers, with a focus on recruiting.”

ITF President and Dockers’ Section Chair Paddy Crumlin said the pay deal in the agreement acknowledges the important contribution of seafarers to the global economy and recognizes their sacrifices during the pandemic. “The relationship between ITF and the JNG remains in good shape despite the challenges that these negotiations faced,” he said.

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