The ITF (International Transport Workers’ Federation) on 20 February, condemned an offer by a small coalition of Ukrainian trade unions to slash minimum wages for the country’s seafarers.
Describing itself as the Ukrainian National Platform of Maritime Trade Unions, the new group is touting for business by promising to undercut agreed and negotiated conditions. It is publicly offering shipowners the chance to evade the agreed ITF monthly minimum wage for ABs of USD$1,806 and slashing it by USD801.
ITF seafarers’ section chair David Heindel explained: “There is no indication that any shipowner has fallen for this offer yet. They will be aware that a union proposing to reduce negotiated conditions for seafarers is unacceptable and will not be tolerated by the ITF. Similarly the ITF will consider any shipowner trying to take advantage of this dodgy deal as attempting to attack the hard won and hard earned rights of seafarers – and inviting the consequences.”
The MTWTU (Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine) is a recognised member union of the ITF. It’s first vice chairman, Oleg Grigoryuk, added: “Ukrainian seafarers are known worldwide for their skills and hard work. This new outfit’s attempt to undermine their rights and pay is a deeply cynical and distasteful move. Trade unions are meant to defend the rights and conditions of workers, not collude to remove them.”
ITF president Paddy Crumlin concluded: “This offer is a tawdry attempt to drum up business at the expense of the very workers these so-called unions are meant to represent. It’s notable that the leader of this appears to be the UMTUF, a union that the ITF had to suspend from membership, and whose expulsion has now become increasingly likely.”