Argo crew decided to join SUR

The inspectors from the Far Eastern Regional Organization of  the  Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR FERO) visited the  1990-built, Russian-flagged tanker Argo (IMO 8914855). The  tanker  was being under cargo handling operations at  the  Nakhodka oil loading port. The  seafarers wanted to become  the  SUR's members following the  conversations with its reps.

Argo is owned by the Russian-based NNK Kamchatnefteprodukt JSC, in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The  crew includes 21 Russian seafarers. All of them found a job  through a Kamchatsky-based crewing agency. An AB's basic rate is RUB14,000 ($215) but it is  significantly lower the  ILO-recommended $614. A total wage, plus overtime and far-eastern bonuses, isn't  exceeded RUB70,000 ($1,000) on board. The wage rate depends on area of navigation and ship's  performance. The  seafarers are under extremely disadvantage condition: they will receive only a base rate if a court settles  an unpaid-wage  case. 

The  vessel has  all documents required by Russian law, including insurance certificates which are  providing the shipowner's  financial guarantees to crew  members in the event  of  personal injury   or  company's bankruptcy. Every crew  member is  officially hired, the  seafarers have individual contracts and they get labour  experience. But  the  tanker  hasn't a collective  agreement.

The inspectors  told Argo crew about  the SUR's  work, its success and support which seafarers  receive  from the  union.  

We have been talking  about  our  achievements  and the  Consolidated Maritime Labour  Convention and the active  involvement of the  union in its  ratification, - Nikolai Sukhanov, SUR FERO chairman, said. Unfortunately, labour  conditions  on our  vessels are far  from perfect. For example, life  quality and wage  levels for  seafarers  working  on foreign ships often  are significantly  higher than on Russian vessels. 

The  crews voiced the opinion: the priority of  the  union  is to achieve that the  base  rate through  the  Russian fleet isn't  below the rate recommended by the  International Labour  Organization (ILO). Most of seafarers expressed their wills to be  the  union's  members.  The  seafarers received the  membership applications which they will be  able to  pass to the  SUR FERO representatives during the ship call in Nakhodka, which the tanker regularly visits. Subsequently, the joining  procedure   will be started. 

Then we can enter into negotiations with the  shipowner for  signing  a collective  agreement,   which will provide seafarers with  good working conditions and  decent  wages, Nikolai Sukhanov reported.