Working conditions on board the m/v Elsa Odendorff (IMO 9702625, flag of Malta, built in 2015) are ambiguous. Repatriations, despite the pandemic, are made on time. For example, the second engineer from the Primorsky Territory will be provided with a replacement while the ship is in the fishing port of Nakhodka. However, the ITF collective agreement expired in July last year but the German shipowner Oldendorff Carriers GMBH & CO, apparently, is not going to renew it. Inspectors of the Far Eastern territorial organization of the Seafarers Union of Russia (SUR) visited a ship in the port for the first time after a six-month break related to restrictions due to the pandemic. After inspection, by agreement with the seafarers, they sent a warning letter demanding the conclusion of a collective agreement to the shipowner.
In addition to the lack of a collective agreement, there was another important detail that caused concern among the representatives of the FETO SUR. In particular, they did not manage to see the contracts of the seafarers as according to the captain the shipowner forbids showing them to the union’s representatives. «The employer's desire to keep the conditions of the terms and conditions secret, as well as the avoidance of contacts with the ITF, suggests that it was not for nothing that he chose a convenient flag for the ship. Thus, the company untied the hands to hire cheap labor from different countries, »- said Nikolai Sukhanov, chairman of the FETO SUR. It was not even possible to find out the amount of the basic rate for AB and the captain's salary.
Nevertheless, the representatives of the trade union saw the Declaration of Compliance, part II, signed by the beneficial shipowner, as well as insurance certificates guaranteeing payments in the event of the death of the seafarer and repatriation at the expense of the insurance company. However, it was not known how much the crewmembers were insured for, since they had no labor contracts on their hands, and they themselves could not name these figures.
By the way, there are 21 people on board today: a captain from Poland, one seafarer each from Russia and Lithuania, two from Turkey, four from Indonesia and 12 Filipinos. The relationship on board, despite the diversity of the crew, is good and businesslike.
During the traditional meeting with the crew in the mess room, the inspectors told about the work of the ITF and the SUR aimed at improving the working conditions of seafarers and combating flags of convenience, under which shipowners often allow various abuses. Seafarers can learn more about their rights and the activities of trade unions from the book written by Nikolay Sukhanov in English «Do seafarers have rights under the flags of convenience», a copy of which the inspectors left on board, as well as the ITF magazines.
Separately, in the conversation, the representatives of the trade union focused on the situation that arose in connection with the pandemic. «At the moment, hundreds of thousands of seafarers around the world can not be signed off after the completion of the contracts. The trade unions, including the SUR, are trying to do everything they can to help the crewmembers. Fortunately, these difficulties did not affect Elsa Odendorff. One of the Russian seafarers will be discharged in our port. The Filipinos, whose contracts are signed for 10 months, also said that they have not encountered any problems with the shift yet.»- Nikolai Sukhanov explained