Nautilus calls pay cut demands “a slap in the face”
Mark Dickinson, Nautilus International’s general secretary, has condemned the refusal of shipowners to approve a standard pay uplift for seafarers as “disgraceful”.
Seafarers unions took the decision yesterday to shut down pay discussions at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) after the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS), demanded that the industry abandon the established practice of using objective ILO minimum wage calculations before they would approve any raise to the minimum wage for mariners.
The ILO Minimum Wage for Seafarers is a mechanism that prevents mariners worldwide from being exploited, and ensure their wages are tied to inflation, thus ensuring their purchasing power is not diluted over time.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson, who acts as Seafarers Group spokesperson at the ILO and vice-chair of the Seafarers’ Section of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), said:
“For only the second time in the long history of these negotiations the shipowners and the seafarers have failed to agree a revised minimum wage for seafarers That’s wholly the fault of the shipowners, who have behaved with such an astounding lack of self-awareness and a lack of respect for the sacrifices of seafarers – especially these past 14 months.
“Seafarers are heroes of the pandemic. They have sacrificed time and again. They have literally risked their lives so that these companies could survive Covid-19 and its economic effects. And now the thanks they get is a slap in the face from the shipowners who are essentially making them choose between pay cuts now or pay cuts later. It’s disgraceful.
“By initially holding to ransom any kind of pay rise – even a dollar – to their plan to blow up the ILO formula, the shipowners expose their long-term strategy to undermine the social dialogue that has been so critical to the success and stability of this industry for years, and in doing so threaten the cooperation that we’ve seen throughout the global pandemic.”
Mr Dickinson added that the door to resume talks remains open “should common sense prevail”.