Latest IBF Agreement Good News for Mariners


July 2014


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Mariners working on vessels covered by International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) special agreements got good news in early June. Thanks to negotiations involving the International Bargaining Forum (IBF), mariners sailing under ITF agreements will receive a total of 6.5 percent in pay increases during the next three years.


The gains were announced June 6 as the latest round of negotiations on the new IBF framework agreement finished in Indonesia.


SIU Secretary-Treasurer David Heindel chaired the recent talks, which lasted for two days. In addition to his duties with the SIU, Heindel chairs the ITF Seafarers’ Section.


“Considerable progress has clearly been made from both parties over this round,” Heindel stated. “The ITF has understood the challenges facing the [employer representatives] in their ability to afford a pay increase, but it has been important to secure a pay increase for our members, to ensure a fair wage and conditions of employment.”


Steve Cotton, ITF acting general secretary, congratulated both sides on their achievement and underscored that this is a victory for workers.


“Both sides have worked hard to come to an agreement and negotiations have now been going on for eight months,” he said. “The hard work has been worth it. There is now a single standard of employment for IBF seafarers, and all the IBF social partners support this global standard.” The IBF was formed in 2003 as a mechanism for collective bargaining between maritime employers and maritime unions over the wages and conditions of employment for mariners serving on foreign-flag ships covered by ITF special agreements. Maritime employers are represented by the International Maritime Employers’ Council (IMEC), the International Shipping Employers’ Group (ISEG) which incorporates the International Maritime Managers’ Association of Japan (IMMAJ) and the Taiwanese company Evergreen, and the Korean Shipowners’ Association.


Together they form the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG), which allows maritime employers to present a coordinated view to the ITF.


The ITF’s affiliates include 684 unions (including the SIU) in 140 countries representing more than 600,000 mariners.


According to the federation, “The IBF negotiations include both central negotiations and local negotiations which allow for development of core principles which can then be incorporated into specific local arrangements. This unique approach to pay negotiations is the only example of international collective bargaining.”



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