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Swiss unions rally for Ukrainian seafarers

19 April 2022

Swiss labour unions, including Nautilus International, have rallied to support Ukrainian seafarers caught up in the Russia-Ukraine invasion

The latest issue of the Nautilus Swiss member newsletter, Kompass, described various activities, such as that undertaken by the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) which has set up a Ukraine solidarity fund for transport unions in Ukraine and neighbouring countries for the benefit of those affected by the war.

'Transport workers connect the world, they build bridges between people all over the world. But they are the first to pay the price for this war,' it said.

As the traditional worker's Labour Day in Europe on 1 May approached, other unions such as the Swiss Trade Union Confederation (SGB) condemned the Russia-Ukrainian conflict but committed to supporting a peaceful resolution.

Nautilus Switzerland national organiser Holger Schatz said the Swiss branch has just under 250 Ukrainian seafarer members who are employed by the three Swiss shipping companies that operate under the Swiss flag.

'Just under half of the seafarers have remained in the country since the war began and will now be doing military service instead of coming onboard for scheduled shifts,' said Mr Schatz. 'Others continue to work onboard even after the end of their shifts, as a return home is impossible. We are glad that the Swiss shipowners and the Swiss authorities are doing everything they can to support the seafarers.'


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