An Australian shipping company has been accused of underpaying foreign crew aboard a Bahamas-flagged vessel operating in Australian waters on domestic routes.
The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) said it inspected the CSL Australia’s MV Diana in Melbourne and found the company is underpaying Filipino seafarers who are effectively operating full-time on the Australian coast.
Under coastal trading rules introduced in 2012, foreign crew must be paid award rates as the vessel is working more than two domestic voyages in Australian waters, but the ITF’s inspection shows that seafarers are only receiving low FOC wages, the trade group said in statement on Wednesday.
The Diana is owned by an Australian company, Canadian Shipping Lines (CSL) Australia. According to the ITF, the company has increased the use of foreign seafarers in coastal trades replacing Australian crew, effectively undermining employment conditions and jobs on Australia’s coastal shipping routes.
“Under Australian legislation, all foreign workers must be paid award rates while operating in the local trade,” said ITF Australia Coordinator Dean Summers.
“ITF Australia, acting on a tip off, has exposed abuse of Filipino seafarers working in Australia for CSL. The ITF has contacted the Fair Work Ombudsman (FWO) to investigate further but we are yet to receive a response. These are vulnerable foreign workers used by an Australian company to replace Australian national seafarers working exclusively in the Australian trade,” Summers said.
According to the ITF, CSL Australia has so far refused to sign an industrial agreement guaranteeing international minimum standards on its fleet of deregulated FOC vessels – Acacia, Adelie and Diana.
“The ITF demands the government investigates these clear breaches of our trading laws immediately and prosecute the perpetrators,” Summers said.