27.02.2019

Russian seafarers were paid in France

When the Russian-flagged vessel Modulus 2 arrived  in Finland,  Inspectors came on board and found out that it was  a Turkish company  that had been hiding under the Russian flag. The company's name is Albrus, it is based in Istanbul and operates a fleet of 50 river-sea vessels. About fourteen of its vessels shelter behind a sham flag of the Russian Federation, and  the Modulus 2 is one of them . Under the rules of the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF), this is called "double registration" and is one of the forms  of  flags of convenience. 

International trade unions pursue campaign against flags of convenience and boycott such  ships pressing their owners to conclude  collective agreements providing better working terms and conditions on board. 

The crew of Modulus was lucky: the Finns boycotted the vessel's cargo operations and forced the shipowner to  conclude the ITF Standard Collective Agreement. So the wages of seafarers from Rostov and Taganrog which were about $1,100,  increased two and a half times.

Of course, the Turkish shipowner considered this a mere formality and  concession just to release the ship, and then he continued to pay the crew prior wages.

The crew did not accept this and sent a message to the seafarers' union in Kaliningrad. Immediately after that, at the next port of call -  Brest (France), the Inspectors came on board and found out easily that the owner didn't comply with the terms of the collective agreement,  and the crew did not receive the promised. Then, Laura Tallonneau,  ITF Inspector detained the vessel and within a couple of hours secured  the payment of 40,000, the outstanding  wages   for two months contract period, to the crew.

It is quite possible that Modulus crew would face problems with receiving the wages at globally agreed rates.   Shipowners from the South use simple ways to do this: double-entry bookkeeping, blackmail or sweet-talk. Like, if you want to work with me further, give me the pay difference back.

Such cases are common. Nevertheless, if a seafarer stands his ground, he will receive his wages. And the union will help him with this.

Vadim Mamontov, ITF Inspector, Kaliningrad

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