The Seafarers' Union of Russia and the International Transport Workers' Federation in St. Petersburg assisted a seafarer from the m/v Ursus Arctos to return home before the termination of his employment agreement. The Russian seafarer needed repatriation for family reasons, he sent two reports to the company asking for repatriation but received no answer.
Since the m/v Ursus Arctos was covered by a collective agreement, the seafarer contacted the SUR, explained the situation and asked for help.
Naturally, the question arose: who should pay for repatriation. In accordance with terms of the collective agreement there are certain cases when employer should arrange repatriation at his own expense. These cases include the end of the employee's contract, the employer's failure to fulfill his obligations under the agreement, the illness or death of the close relative of the seafarer, whose name is indicated in the contract as the next of kin. None of those conditions fitted the situation. Therefore, when a crew member wants to end his service ahead of schedule "for family reasons" he should pay for his repatriation from his own funds.
However, the Russian seafarer was lucky. Due to the negotiations between the SUR, the ITF and the shipowner the situation had been settled in his favor - the repatriation costs were not charged from the seafarer.
The SUR notes that this situation is an exception: repatriation at the expense of the company before the end of the contract for a reason not provided for by the collective agreement has become possible only thanks to social partnership.