Maritime

ITF inspectors recover $37 million dollars unpaid seafarers wages in 2021

ITF inspectors recover $37 million dollars unpaid seafarers wages in 2021

 

The International Transport Workers’Federation (ITF) has reported that it recovered more than $37 million USD in unpaid wages owed seafarers in year 2021.
The union added that its 125 inspectors and coordinators completed 7,265 inspections in 2021 to support thousands of seafarers with wage claims and repetraiation cases despite COVID-19 restrictions preventing inspectors ability to board ships for much of the year.
Explaining, iTF said that its inspectors get their name because they board and inspect ships, educate seafarers about their rights and support crew to enforce the rights saying the officials covered more than 100 ports across 50 countries
“Inspectors are trained to look for exploitation, overwork 3b3n for signs of forced labour and modern slavery. They have right on many vessels to examine wages, accounts, employment contracts and to review recorded hours of work and rest.
“It’s not uncommon for crew to be paid the wrong rate by a ship owners of less than the rate set out in the employment agreement covering the ship,” said Steve Trowsdale, the iTF Inspectorate Coordinator.
“Crew can generally work when they are being underpaid and that’s when they contact us. iTF inspectors help seafarers recover what’s owed to them.”
The union noted that iTF altogether, recovered $37 million in unpaid wages and entitlements from shipowners in 2021.
Trowsdale said the makeup of seafarers wage claims was changing a rise in the number of.seafafera reprotung non-payment of wages for periods of two months or longer which actually meets the International Labour Organisation ,ILO”s definition of abandonment.

“Seafarers might think it’s normal to go unpaid for a couple of months, waiting for a shipowner to sort out financing, but they need to be aware that non-payment can also be a sign that a shipowner is about to cut them loose and leave them abandoned.”

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The ITF reported 85 cases of abandonment to the International Labour Organization (ILO) last year, an historic high. In many of those cases, abandoned crew had already been waiting on several weeks’ or months’ of unpaid wages – including those aboard the storm-hit MV Lidia.

ITF inspector based in Hong Kong, Jason Lam, helped eight Burmese seafarers who were crewing the MV Lidia recover almost USD $30,000 in unpaid wages after they ran aground in October 2021, thanks to a typhoon that left them close to shipwrecked. The shipowner refused to pay the two months’ wages he owed them, abandoning them and ruling out any assistance to get them home.

Weeks of campaigning by Lam on behalf of the seafarers had an impact, and on 2 November 2021, the crew flew home – full wages in hand.

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