Unpaid wages are the problem number 1 on vessels not having collective agreements
Labor Inspectors of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR) keep visiting vessels at different ports of the country. So, over the first quarter of 2019, they inspected 15 vessels, 12 of which operated under the flag of convenience, the rest were flying the flag of the Russian Federation. The reason for their visits were the complaints from Russian seafarers about working conditions, especially, unpaid wages.
According to the data provided by the Labor Inspection, there were no collective agreements on board of three ships under the flag of convenience and of two Russian ships. It was there the breaches of terms regarding the payment of wages were found out.
So, one crew member asked for assistance in situation concerning repatriation. The shipping company withheld money for the early signing off from his salary, but since there was no agreement between the employer and the union, the Labor Inspectorate could not help the seafarer.
One of the Russian-flagged vessels, which drew the attention of SUR Inspectors was owned by Murmansk Shipping Company (MSCO). There was no collective agreement on board, although there was one concluded between the SUR Primary Organization of MSCO and MSCO. The crew complained about the quality of potable water, the poor food supply and the delayed change for some crew members.
Following the interference of SUR Inspector, Lyudmila Izmalkova, food and potable water were brought on board, and the company confirmed the replacement of several crew members.
It is worth to note that the Inspectors didn't find out any problems with wages payments on board the vessels covered by collective agreements, besides, the wage rates on board these vessels met the international standards. Thus, once again it was confirmed that the collective agreement on board guarantees seafarers with decent employment conditions, which are clearly and transparently stipulated in the provisions, including the repatriation, which is in most cases paid by shipping company.