Wage deal sealed

Seafarers have won pay rises worth 6.5% over three years after talks between the ITF union and owners’ representatives at the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) in Bali this week.

A salary increase of 1% has been agreed for 2015, with 2% following in 2016 and 3.5% in 2017.

There will also be a 10% rebate for owners belonging to the joint negotiating group (JNG) from the ITF welfare fund, with an additional 2.5% based on an incentive system.

The ITF had called for a 15% hike.

A statement from both sides involved in the talks said: “The negotiations were particularly challenging this year, following the depression of the global shipping market, since the last agreement was negotiated in 2011.”

Enhanced welfare for crews has also been agreed.

Dave Heindel, chair of the ITF seafarers' section, said: "Considerable progress has clearly been made from both parties over this round.

“The ITF has understood the challenges facing the JNG members 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.

“There have at times been differing views by both parties, but both have been able to put aside these differences to conclude the negotiations.'

JNG chairman Tsutomu Iizuka added: “The last eight months of IBF discussions have been tough.

“Both sides commenced the progress at different ends of the spectrum, wishing to best represent their respective members.

“There has been considerable movement from each side, which has been difficult at times and has only been possible due to the mutual respect between the parties to the IBF, gained over the past 10 years.”