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SEAFARERS' UNION OF RUSSIA (AFFILIATED WITH ITF)
A NON-UNIONIZED SEAFARER
IS AN UNPROTECTED SEAFARER
Representatives of the Far Eastern Territorial Oganization of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR FETO) learnt this while visiting the bulk carrier Star Virginia (Liberia flag, IMO 9698874) berthed at the port of Vostochny.
According to Nikolay Sukhanov, SUR FETO Chairman, the registered owner of the vessel is the Greek company Abu Tree Ltd, the operator and actual employer of the Filipino crew is Ible Shipmanagement Ltd from Athens.
“In general, the crew welcomed us on board, but the captain made it clear straightaway that we were unwanted guests on board. It emerged that the company categorically forbade Filipinos from communicating with representatives of the ITF and its affiliated unions and from showing any documents”, - Nikolay Sukhanov noted.
Nevertheless, the SUR FETO Inspectors managed to talk to some crew members. They found out that the AB seaman's wage was USD950, and that of the captain was about USD6,000. Daily food allowance per crew member was USD10. There were insurance certificates, as required by the Maritime Labor Convention, on board, but there was not the ITF-approved collective agreement.
“Such intimidation has a negative effect on the mood of the crew, in fact, the crew members are deprived of the right to contact union representatives if any issues arise,” Nikolai Sukhanov added.
“A small part of the crew gathered in the mess room, and we explained the seafarers why the Greek shipowner forbade them from communicating with ITF representatives. The point is that the bulk carrier Star Virginia is registered under Liberian flag, which is the flag of convenience, as such, the employer can saves on crew wages by paying them half the amount established by the ITF for FOC ships. No wonder, the company bars the seafarers from contacting the representatives of ITF affiliated unions and its inspectors.
In addition, it turned out that Filipinos do not know how much they are insured for in case of injury or death. The SUR FETO Inspectors noted that if there is an ITF collective agreement on board, the compensation for death is at least USD110,000.
- Given that the Seafarers' Union of Russia maintains good relations with the Philippine marine union AMOSUP, we promised the crew of Star Virginia to inform its management that the Greek shipowner is grossly violating the rights of seafarers, - Nikolay Sukhanov said. – In addition, we will inform the Greek trade union, which will be able to initiate negotiations and sign the ITF collective agreement, about the situation on board the vessel. The ITF coordinator in Japan will also be notified of the need to check Star Virginia - a bulk carrier will proceed there from the port of Vostochny.
“The SUR FETO will also address to the Greek shipowner a warning that ITF Inspectors will examine working conditions of Filipino seafarers at all ports of call of the ship,” - Nikolai Sukhanov added.
It remains to be added that the representatives of the trade union handed over to the crew booklets in English about the rights and guarantees of seafarers working on a ship under a flag of convenience and the Union's magazines "Maritime Union's Herald", which, among other things, covers the activities of the ITF and the SUR.