Employers agree 2.5% wage increase

IBF talks limit wage inflation but employers make concessions on dock work.

Unions and employers have agreed seafarer’s wages will be frozen this year under shipping’s largest and most influential collective bargaining agreement the International Bargaining Forum (IBF).

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The International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and employer’s Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) wrapped up a new four year deal in Manila today.

It will cover 200,000 seafarers and will run for four years between 2019 and 2022 effectively meaning that wages will remain as they are for this year.

From 2019 there will be a 2.5% salary increase under the IBF agreement and a salary review for the remaining period of the deal.

The ITF and JNG also agreed a re-grading of the Warlike Area off the coast of Somalia to a High Risk Area and the addition of a Warlike Area 12 nautical miles off the mainland coast of Yemen.

There have been changes to clauses under IBF contracts linked to the non-seafarers’ - understood to refer to dock workers - from 1 March this year.

There will also be enhanced welfare support for seafarers under the new agreement.

Employers have also seen their rebate from contributions to the ITF’s Welfare Fund increased to 16% and the introduction of an incentive scheme which could win them another 2% rebate.

ITF president Paddy Crumlin: “Seafarers and dockers face serious challenges on a daily basis and it is absolutely essential that their needs are at the forefront of these negotiations. These are undoubtedly challenging times yet with mutual respect and collegiality, together, we have come to terms on a new agreement.”

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JNG Chairman Captain Koichi Akamine said: ‘The fact that we’ve been able to renegotiate and conclude on a new agreement with the current challenging market conditions, is testament to the IBF process and the members representing both the unions and the employers.

"This reinforces the trust and mutual respect that both sides have gained over the past 15 years.’