In a bid to motivate seafarers globally and improve their productivity, an International Labor Organization (ILO) sub-committee has agreed to raise the seafarers’ minimum wage to $673 per month
The new wage was agreed following the conclusion of negotiations between shipowners and seafarers’ unions.
Under the resolution approved by a sub-committee of the Joint Maritime Commission (JMC) of the ILO, the basic minimum wage for qualified seafarers will increase each year for three years from January 2023 until the next meeting of JMC in 2025.
Under the agreement, the minimum wage will be raised to $658 starting January 1, 2023, $666 in 2024 and $673 in 2025 respectively.
During the previous round of negotiations last September, shipowners and seafarers’ unions had set the minimum wage at $648 per month from July 1, 2022.
During these negotiations, the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF), representing seafarers, initially called for the minimum wage to be raised to $683 per month, up 6.5% or $1.40 per day compared to the monthly minimum wage of $641 that had been in place since 2018.
But shipowners’ unions, represented by the International Chamber of Shipping, rejected the offer and proposed a plan to raise wages by just 3% over three years, to a maximum of $660 a month in 2024.
“The global seafarer workforce is essential to the safe and efficient flow of global trade, and they are among the unsung heroes of the pandemic,” said the spokesperson for the Swiss Shipowners Association, Charles Darr.
A member of the group involved in the negotiations said the new agreement was a win-win for shipowners and seafarers.
“It strikes a balance between rewarding seafarers for their incredible contributions to the global economy and, at the same time, ensuring that shipping companies are able to remain sustainable and commercially viable in light of the many challenges we currently face and of those who are coming,” the MP said.
Speaking shortly after the deal, Seafarers Group spokesman Mark Dickinson of Nautilus International said:
“Today’s agreement recognizes the immense sacrifices and professionalism of the men and women who work at sea and testifies to the collective milestones that the social partnership between seafarers and shipowners has historically achieved, particularly in recent years.
“We look forward to continuing to work together alongside our social partners to safeguard the financial stability of seafarers around the world,” he said.
The ILO has insisted that the minimum wage is low by most standards in the developed world and is widely recognized by the global shipping industry as a positive contribution to decent work and employment. employment for the world’s seafarers.
The basic minimum wage standard falls under the ILO Maritime Labor Convention, 2006 (MLC 2006), known as the “Seafarers’ Bill of Rights, MLC 2006) which came into force on 20 August 2013 and has been ratified by 101 ILO Member States, representing approximately 96% of the world’s maritime tonnage.
The Joint Maritime Commission (JMC) is a bipartite body of the ILO composed of representatives of employers coordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) and representatives of seafarers’ unions coordinated by the International Transport Workers’ Federation .