The crew member of m/v "Inzhener Veshnyakov" who worked on board for 5 months fell short of RUB27,830 of due wages. The employer, JSC "Northern Shipping Company", reduced the amount of currency equivalent of daily allowance from USD14 provided by the employment agreement to USD11 without explanation.
As a result, the seafarer received USD14 per day stipulated by the agreement only for one month of work. According to Sergey Portenko, the Chairman of the SUR Primary trade union organization of JSC NSC, the whole company’s pool of seafarers faced a similar situation.
Following the seafarer’s appeal to SUR , the trade union committee sent a demand to eliminate the violation of labor legislation directly to the employer.
It has been specifically stressed in the demand that in accordance with the labor legislation the alteration of an employment contract conditions agreed by the parties may be allowed only in 2 cases:
-on the basis of agreement of the parties to the employment agreement (Article 72 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation), when it is necessary to conclude an additional agreement to it; -or at the initiative of the employer, when for reasons related to a change in organizational or process working conditions the terms of the employment agreement determined by the parties cannot be maintained, with the exception of a change in the employee's labor function (part 2 of Article 74 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation).
But even in the latter case, even if we are talking about an increase in wages, the employer is obliged to notify the employee in writing no later than two months in advance (part 2 of Article 74 of the Labor Code of the Russian Federation). “However, the seafarer who contacted us was not informed about the change in working conditions while working on board and did not sign any written changes to the employment agreement,”- Sergey Portenko noted.
The shipping company, however, replied the Union with a subterfuge stating that “an analysis of the regulatory legal acts allows us to conclude that there are no violations by JSC Northern Shipping Company paying foreign currency instead of daily allowances to crew members ”.
An appeal to the State Labor Inspectorate of the Arkhangelsk Region and the Nenets Autonomous Okrug did not bring the desired results either. There were no details of the verification in the response letter. It only stated that the trade union's appeal did not contain information about the immediate threat of harm to life and serious harm to the health of citizens, as well as about such facts. It was also reported that the company was issued a warning about the inadmissibility of violating the law, but what that meant was not specified.
“It seems the authority just does not want to deal with the problems of seafarers and delude into them, that's why sometimes the response to such reqests comes in month” Sergey Portenko said. - Since the situation was not resolved after the appeal to the authorities, we assisted the seafarer to file a lawsuit with the Lomonosovsky District Court of Arkhangelsk. Currently we are waiting for the case to be reviewed and are keeping the situation under control.”
Photo – Marine Traffic