The sanctions imposed against our country could not but affect the seafarers. There are shipping companies that stop working with Russians. “This is the unfortunate situation, but it allows you to send around your CVs to other companies, crewing agencies and find a job,” - Lyudmila Izmalkova, Chairman Kaliningrad Territorial Organization of the Seafarers’ Union of Russia (KTO SUR) said. “It’s much worse when you rely, for example, on a 6-7 months contract and a certain salary, but in the middle of the voyage the report comes from the office notifying your contract is terminated ahead of time though there are no complaints from the shipowner.
The situation is unpalatable, but not all that bad. If there is a collective agreement on board a foreign flagged vessel, then it contains a curious article Termination of Employment (“Severance of the employment relationship”). It says that if the contract is valid, the seafarer works flawlessly, and the company decided to terminate the contract before the expiration date, then the shipowner must:
- send a seafarer 30 days notice of termination of his/her contract;
- offer a seafarer a transfer to a similar vessel, to the same position and for the same money within the specified period,
- in the absence of vacancies, pay compensation in the amount of double the base rate.
Lyudmila Izmalkova explains that, unfortunately, many are guilty of not reading the contracts, therefore they do not know that there are some obligations: "If your contract has been prematurely terminated, you should send a shipowner the statement demanding to pay you the base rate in double amount and attach the current account details to receive the money".
The KTO SUR Chairman gives the example of the situation with the seafarer from Kaliningrad. The company terminated the employment relationship with him ahead of time, but did not pay compensation. The vessel on board which the seafarer was working had been covered by a collective agreement, so the trade union turned to the shipowner. As a result, the money was transferred within one day. After that, four colleagues of that seafarer from Kaliningrad turned to the KRO SUR either. They found themselves in the same situation – a company terminated their contracts ahead of time. Lyudmila Izmalkova noted that the seafarers received what they were entitled to under the collective agreement.