Fair Pay at Sea campaign launches ahead of crunch ILO wage talks next month

A new website, Fair Pay at Sea, has been launched with backing from trade union Nautlius International, looking to raise seafarer pay by at least $50 a month. The site has been launched with negotations on seafarer pay set to start next month in Geneva at the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Writing an introduction to the site, Mark Dickinson, general secretary of Nautilus International, stated many seafarers receive the globally-agreed minimum wage of just £440 ($614) a month, or £2.12 an hour, a rate, Dickson wrote, that “should shame us all” .

“Bananas might well be ‘organic’ or ‘fair trade’ and timber ‘sustainably sourced’, but the human cost of shipping goods remains well beneath the public radar,” Dickinson wrote, adding: “The International Commission on Shipping (ICONS) put the situation in strikingly bald terms. ‘10 – 15% of the world’s seafarers work in slave conditions, with minimal safety, long hours for little or no pay, (and) starvation diets.’”

Dickinson will be leading the seafarers’ delegation at the ILO meeting next month on behalf of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF).

Dickinson claimed seafarers have the most physically dangerous, emotionally destructive, and socially-isolating occupation on Earth.

“Many circle the globe in penury, as their wages are unpaid – the ITF routinely collects over £30 million a year in unpaid back wages,” Dickinson wrote.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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