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IBF deal secures better pay and conditions for 250,000 seafarers

27 September 2023

More than 250,000 seafarers working on around 10,000 flag of convenience vessels covered by ITF-IBF collective bargaining agreements will have their wages increased, thanks to a four-year agreement reached by the International Bargaining Forum (IBF).

The IBF is the forum that negotiates the world’s only global collective bargaining agreement. It consists of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) representing seafarers and the Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) representing ship managers and owners. Nautilus International general secretary Mark Dickinson and head of international relations Danny McGowan attended the negotiations.

The 2024-2027 IBF Framework Agreement includes a 4% wages and compensations increase from 1 January 2024 and a further 2% increase from 1 January 2025 for seafarers, officers and ratings. Further negotiations will take place in the autumn of 2025 on pay and cost items for 2026-2027.

Dozens of workplace protections and improvements have also been put in place, including improvements to the minimum number of public holidays, disincentives to counter against poor overtime record-keeping, PPE provision and maintenance and reinforcement of the right to shore leave.

The new IBF Framework Agreement now includes reference to ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment to reinforce a joint ITF commitment to provide safe workplaces free of violence, discrimination and harassment for all seafarers. There was also a joint recognition of the importance of safe working practices in cargo lashing in the common fight against malpractice.

A working group has been established to focus on the future of seafaring, focusing on the need for a Just Transition as the industry moves towards greater automation and reduced emissions. The group will additionally cover concerns around seafarers’ hours of work, crewing levels, fatigue and duration of employment.

The JNG also committed to remind its members of the importance of respecting national cabotage provisions, and agreed to work together with the ITF on a strategy to expand provision of free internet access to seafarers.

'This agreement has been many months in the making, with some difficult conversations with the JNG to get to this stage. It benefits seafarers of all nationalities to ensure that these minimum levels are set through negotiation with ITF and its affiliates,' said Mr McGowan. ‘Shipowners and employers can evidence good social commitments by participating in such fora with Nautilus and the ITF.

'We look forward to seeing the pay increase and the improvements to terms and conditions developing, both in line with the negotiated terms but also in line with improvements to the Maritime Labour Convention.’


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