Nautilus International has welcomed an agreement to amend the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 to provide improved protection for seafarers held hostage as a result of piracy or armed robbery attacks on their ships.
The Union is now urging the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to move onto the next big challenge and develop a long-term strategy to ensure that ‘desperately needed’ additional changes are made to the MLC.
Nautilus officials were part of the seafarers’ delegation to the third meeting of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Special Tripartite Committee in Geneva which agreed an amendment to ensure that seafarers’ wages and other contractual entitlements will continue to be paid during the entire period of captivity.
The week-long meeting also saw the seafarers’ and shipowners’ groups jointly table three resolutions calling for action by governments on vital issues such as the facilitation of shore leave and seafarer abandonment.
The seafarers group also tabled a resolution calling for the ILO to consider convening a sectoral meeting to discuss decent work in the inland navigation sector.
Nautilus general secretary Mark Dickinson commented: 'The agreement on this important amendment to protect seafarers’ wages is very welcome, but we hope that future meetings of the STC can move on to address other equally important aspects of the convention that need improvement, such as the paid annual leave, sickness, social protection aspects and new issues that need incorporating such as pensions/retirement savings which we know from our own member surveys are desperately needed.
'What we need now as seafarers is a long-term strategy to continuously improve the MLC - so the work on that starts now,' he added.