SUR Received A Letter Of Gratitude From Transport Ministry

03.07.2017  

On the eve of the Day of Marine and River Fleet Workers, the 27th of June, Maxim Sokolov, Transport Minister, handed departmental awards to the honored employees of the industry. The personnel of the Seafarers' Union of Russia (SUR) received a letter of gratitude in recognition of the multi-year
conscientious work work and on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the organization's establishment. Maxim Sokolov wished the Union further fruitful activity to the benefit of Russia.

- Today, maritime and inland water transport is intensely developing: new high-tech facilities are being introduced in ports, cargo turnover is growing every year, major water-development projects are being renovated, Russian shipyards launch new cargo and passenger vessels, emergency-rescue and icebreaking fleet is being built, and Arctic shipping is being revived. Qualified specialists are trained in education institutions: navigators, hydraulic engineers, ship repairmen, economists, - Maxim Sokolov said during the ceremony.

After the solemn ceremony, in the Green Hall of the Ministry of Transport Head Office a meeting with the leaders of all-Russian trade unions of marine and river transport was held. Yuri Sukhorukov, SUR Chairman, raised the problems of medical examination, protection of employment of Russian seamen and financial guarantees of shipowners in case of repatriation.

The issue of medical examination should be addressed promptly, as on July, 1 expires the deadline for the implementation of the STCW Convention regulation which requires to have in place an approved list of certified institutions and physicians authorized to conduct medical examinations of seafarers. In Russia, it is still not available, as is the approved form of medical certification.

As for the employment of seafarers, this issue is directly related to the protection of national interests. The fact is that the law "On territories of advanced social and economic development in the Russian Federation" adopted in 2014 allows uncontrolled employment of seafarers by the residents of such territories (including shipowners as well).

SUR believes the current situation is in the contrary to the Rule 2.8 of the MLC, which states: "Each Member State pursues a national policy aimed at promoting employment in the maritime shipping and encouraging career development, skills upgrade and expanding employment opportunities for the seafarers residing in its Territory ". The SUR offers not only to stop distributing preferences to Russian shipowners, but also to prohibit the employment of foreign seamen on Russian vessels operating on the Russian continental shelf, since this is a strategically important zone for the country. If foreign vessels are involved for such activities, their crew should at least 80% consist of Russian seamen.

Above that, the SUR is concerned about the implementation of the MLC Standard A2.5.2 on financial guarantees for shipowners to assist seafarers in the event of abandonment without support. Until now, the amount of insurance payments has not been established, there is no clear and transparent mechanism for the implementation of insurance. This situation threatens with emergence of "fake" documents, as it was at the dawn of
compulsory third party car insurance.

Vasiliy Kozarenko, the Сhairman of the Dockers' Union of Russia (DUR), who was also attending the meeting, asked the Minister to assist in preventing contraсted work - banned by the labor legislation - in seaports. To address this issue, it is necessary, among other things, to recognize inadmissible the application of civil law contracts, which stevedoring companies use for outsourcing through engagement with would-be recruitment agencies or use them to move out these contracted workers by concluding civil contracts instead of employment contracts. In addition, Vasily Kozarenko asked the Ministry to defeat the discrimination based on a trade union membership. Some employers just hinder many DUR activists the access to the port areas. Besides, the port workers are strongly advised to withdraw their union membership. The union calls the Ministry of Transport to consider the issue of the obligation of employers to comply with the requirements of legislation, including the requirement to provide trade union leaders with permanent port entry permits.

In the meantime we await for the minutes of the meeting, from which it will become clear on which issues the Ministry of Transport is ready to support the trade unions.