Shipowners may no longer have to recognise and pay for seafarers’ mandatory union membership in certain countries under shipping’s largest collective bargaining agree­ment (CBA).

Article 31 of the central agreement of the International Bargaining Forum (IBF) deal in effect requires shipowners to pay for their crews’ International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) membership.

However, under the new four-year deal concluded in Manila last week, covering 200,000 seafarers, owners will be allowed to negotiate the clause when the central IBF deal is applied locally in countries such as Germany where compulsory union membership is illegal.