Please note that currently there are three types of the collective agreements approved by the ITF for those shipowners who employ Russian seafarers. Those are:
Total Crew Cost Agreement (TCC CBA);
International Bargaining Forum Agreement (IBF CBA) (this one is available only for shipowners who are members of the International Maritime Employers’ Council);
ITF Standard Agreement (this is an agreement with the highest basic rates, and it is usually signed during industrial actions against the vessels which are not covered by ITF approved agreements).
The SUR agreements’ advantages for shipowners
If the shipowner signs an agreement with the Seafarers’ Union of Russia and observes it, e.g. pays the wages fully and in due time, he will avoid labour disputes and claims from the ITF. As a result, no industrial actions or solidarity actions will be held against the shipowner in foreign ports.
Otherwise there is a risk for the shipowner to become a target of the ITF inspectors worldwide, and to suffer considerable financial and reputation losses due to boycotts and arrests.
The shipowners are free to choose, of course, but one should bear in mind that most of the charterers include a demand to have the vessel covered with an ITF agreement into their freight contracts. Nowadays all Russian shipping companies, not only the major ones, mind their reputation and cover their vessels with ITF-approved agreements, thus improving the seafarers’ welfare and having support from both the SUR and the ITF.