Seafarers will be getting a pay raise of 4.5% over the next two years after striking a deal with maritime employers represented by the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG).
The International Bargaining Forum (IBF), which brings together the seafarers represented by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and the JNG, has agreed to an increase on wages and compensations of 3% from January next year and another increase of 1,5% from January 2023. The agreement was also reached for an increase in JNG members’ rebate from the ITF Welfare Fund to 20% to contribute to the IBF Seafarers Support Fund.
Unions and employers were to meet in March 2020 to agree an uplift in seafarer wages for 2021-2022, but the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic led to an agreed deferment of the talks until September 2021.
“The negotiations were particularly challenging due to the profit variations in the industry, as well as the increased operational costs due to the pandemic. However, both parties acknowledged the need to recognise the sacrifices that seafarers have made during the pandemic, continuing to keep global trade moving whilst unable to return home following the expiry of their contracts, and receiving no wage increase in 2021,” ITF said in a statement.
The JNG consists of the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), the International Mariners Management Association of Japan (IMMAJ), the Korean Shipowners Association (KSA) and Taiwanese carrier Evergreen.
“The pay agreement locks in stability in the seafarer wage market going forward, allowing employers to better weather the volatilities in demand being experienced in various shipping markets since 2020,” stated the chairman of JNG and IMMAJ, Toshihito Inoue.
“From the initial risk the pandemic posed to seafarers, to the ongoing challenge of seafarers sometimes being denied emergency medical treatment by port states, to the global scandal that is the crew change crisis: through the last 18 months seafarers have shown exceptional professionalism and commitment. Therefore, we are proud we have managed to deliver increases to seafarers’ income. Their daily sacrifices to keep supply chains moving, delivering the goods critical to our recovery to billions of consumers and businesses is recognised,” said ITF Seafarers’ section chair David Heindel.
The IBF framework deal between the ITF and the JNG sets the terms, conditions and pay for the world’s international seafarers working aboard vessels flying the flag of an open register designated as the flag of convenience by the ITF.