Tens of thousands of dollars of outstanding pay for seafarers is in the process of recovery after action last week by the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) in New Zealand ports.
Delegations of dockworkers and seafarers representing the ITF visited five vessels in New Zealand ports as part of a week long Flag of Convenience / Port of Convenience Campaigns Workshop (note to editors: links to downloadable photos below).
Approximately US$110,000 has been recovered in back wages, and issues of crew wellbeing have been investigated.
The exercise was led by New Zealand ITF inspector Graham McLaren, and Australian Assistant ITF Coordinator, Matt Purcell, who were joined by maritime workers who are rank and file members of ITF affiliated unions, the Maritime Union of New Zealand and the Maritime Union of Australia.
ITF New Zealand inspector Grahame McLaren says the joint exercise was about getting results for seafarers and was aimed at strengthening the New Zealand network of ITF approved contacts, who are maritime workers accredited by the ITF to visit vessels on a voluntary basis to check on the wellbeing of crew.
“The exercise has built on the already strong relationship with their fellow Australian ITF Representatives and respective affiliates throughout the two countries.”
An eight strong ITF delegation visited the MV Lilly Oldendorff on 3 July 2014 in Bluff, says Mr McLaren.
The delegation delivered a message through the Ukrainian Master that the vessel owner’s refusal to cover his vessels with ITF approved employment agreements was no longer acceptable in this region, and their vessels will now become a target for affiliated unions.
In Lyttelton on 1 July 2014, several issues were investigated on board the Liberian flagged bulk carrier, Sea Success.
Crew were owed pay of over US$53,000, and several crew members had been on board for over 12 months, contravening the Maritime Labour Convention 2006, which New Zealand is currently considering ratifying.
The Panamanian flagged vessel, SW Spinnaker, was detected as owing US$55,000 of wages to crew.
In the Port of Tauranga, ITF representatives visited the ship Cap Pasado on 4 July 2014 to talk to crew and investigate issues around the death of a Filipino seafarer aboard the vessel last month in the Port of Los Angeles.
Around 700 unions representing over 4.5 million transport workers from some 150 countries are members of the ITF.
It is one of several Global Union Federations allied with the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).