12 Carthusian Street London EC1M 6EZ Tel +44 20 7417 8844 Fax +44 20 7417 8877
16 February 2009
For Immediate Release
Contact: Mrs Natalie Shaw
Tel: +44 20 7417 8844
ILO Minimum Wage Discussions 2009
The International Shipping Federation (ISF) in its capacity as Shipowner Group representative body at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Geneva participated last week in talks with the International Transport Federation for reviewing the figure of the ILO Minimum Wage for Able Seafarers. These talks had been scheduled following previous discussions in February 2006.

The Shipowners group outlined that given the current global economic crisis they were extremely concerned about the consequences for the shipping industry in the near future.

Therefore the industry was unable to agree upon any changes in the present level of the minimum wages at this point of time or in the short term, if circumstances remain poor. However Shipowners are willing to reconsider at any given time if the contours of the economic situation show any improvements.

Both parties recognised the difficulties posed by the current economic situation and the need for safeguarding jobs for seafarers, but unfortunately failed to agree on a way forward in the near future. The Shipowner Group maintained that they are willing to reopen discussions as and when the global economic situation stabilizes or otherwise to meet again in February next year.

The International Shipping Federation remain committed towards the principle of the ILO Minimum Wage for Able Seafarers as embedded in ILO Recommendation 109 and within the Maritime Labour Convention 2006. In the meantime the figure of US $545 which came into effect on 31 December 2008 remains in place.

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Note to Editors

International Shipping Federation (ISF)

The principal international employers' organisation for shipowners, whose membership comprises national shipowner and employer associations, through which structure it can uniquely and legitimately claim to speak for a significant majority of employers in international shipping.

The aim of ISF is to promote and represent the interests of shipowners and operators in matters pertaining to labour affairs, manning and training, and seafarers’ welfare, within the international shipping industry. Its role of social partner at ILO gives it a specific platform to undertake these activities on behalf of the industry.

The International Labour Organization (ILO)
The tripartite UN agency that brings together governments, employers and workers of its member states in common action to promote decent work throughout the world.

The Maritime Labour Convention, 2006
An important new international labour Convention adopted by the International Labour Conference of the International Labour Organization (ILO) in February 2006 in Geneva, Switzerland. It sets out seafarers' rights to decent conditions of work and helps to create conditions of fair competition for shipowners. It is intended to be globally applicable, easily understandable, readily updatable and uniformly enforced. It has been designed to become a global legal instrument that, once it enters into force, will be the "fourth pillar" of the international regulatory regime for quality shipping,

The Seafarers Wages, Hours of Work and the Manning of Ships Recommendation No 187 (1996)
The mechanism for setting the minimum wage for able seafarers. The ILO minimum wage takes into consideration a formula which reflects changes in consumer prices and exchange rates against the US dollar in 49 maritime countries and areas. Application of Recommendation No. 187 is not mandatory unless a government chooses to make it so through legislation. It is nevertheless used by shipowners and trade unions in setting wage scales. The mechanism is the only one in the ILO for setting the basic monthly wage for any industry.

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