Shipowner representatives have expressed disappointment that talks to increase the minimum wage for seafarers at the International Labour Organization (ILO) have broken down.
Despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global industry shipowners, representing the cruise and transport sectors, put forward a three-year deal to increase the basic minimum wage for seafarers to provide a level of security for seafarers at this worrying time.
The offer represented a 3% increase for seafarers across the world at a time when many workers on land are having pay freezes and losing their jobs.
Natalie Shaw, Director Employment Affairs at the International Chamber of Shipping said, “Unfortunately the seafarers’ representatives rejected a generous offer from the shipowners in these unprecedented times. We went further than we had anticipated but the offer was still rejected. However, our door is always open.”
The seafarers’ unions did not accept the offer made during two days of official talks at the ILO, which according to the ILO process would mean that able seafarers will now not be entitled to a rise in the minimum wage for 2 years.
Shipowners remain open to discussing the minimum wage with the unions in an effort to seek an early resolution.
According to Mark Dickinson, Seafarers Group Spokesperson at the ILO and Vice-Chair of the Seafarers’ Section of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), a new research from the ITF showed a quarter of seafarers were considering quitting the industry already due to the ongoing crew change crisis and another 23 percent of seafarers were unsure about their future, suggesting a seafarer supply crunch was looming. Covid-era ravel, transit and border restrictions meant a prospective seafarer might not see their family for years.
The ILO minimum wage rate is US$683 per month with effect from 1st January 2022, a US$1.40 per day increase on the current rate of US$641, which was set following discussions at the ILO in 2018.