The FPC SG met on
10 December 2020 and discussed the IMEC Circular (20)123 “ILO minimum basic
wage for an AB and IBF basic wages – Difference explained”, which was published
on 1 December 2020.
The FPC SG is
disappointed and deeply concerned that IMEC unilaterally decided to release the
circular without prior consultation or engagement with the ITF as their social
Unilateral interpretation of
the ILO Minimum Wage for Able Seafarers
With the circular,
the IMEC is effectively imposing upon its member companies a new and unilateral
interpretation of the ILO Minimum Wage for Able Seafarers without regard to
other parties of the established and time-tested process, i.e. ITF,
International Chamber of Shipping and International Labour Organization.
The FPC SG views
this unilateral action as provoking and harmful to the ITF-IMEC relationship
and, in particular, the collective efforts that has been established and proved
successful to all parties over the last 17 years.
The ITF committed to working collaboratively with IMEC and the other
The ITF finds the
circular from IMEC especially frustrating because throughout the Covid-19
pandemic, the ITF has been responsive to requests for assistance from IMEC and
their individual member companies. The ITF has been committed to working
collaboratively with IMEC and the other Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) members
to finding joint solutions to the challenges Covid-19 has posed for seafarers
and for employers, including concessions and assistance – where and when
The FPC SG
disagrees with the contents of the circular since the International Bargaining
Forum (IBF) system moved away from the ITF Total Crew Cost (TCC) concept of a
“benchmark” and a differential wage scale to a “model ship” system. The model
ship methodology allows for flexibility in local negotiations of the
distribution of centrally negotiated wage increases.
It is unlikely
that IMEC would have issued the circular if the IBF wage negotiations were held
in early 2020 as originally scheduled. However, the ITF agreed to the request
from JNG that the IBF wage negotiations be deferred until April 2021, which
prompted a situation concerning the basic wage for an able seafarer in some of
the IBF agreements. This situation is also the consequence of flexibility to
the distribution of increases to which the IBF methodology allows.
Interpretation from IMEC could result in seafarers in lower positions
being robbed of any wage increase for years to come.
the reasons, the FPC SG strongly objects to the unilateral interpretation from
IMEC, which could result in seafarers in lower positions being robbed of any
wage increase for years to come. The FPC SG expects IMEC to honour the system
that has been agreed and in place now for 17 years, and that any changes or
changes in interpretation to the IBF methodology be raised in accordance with
and within the agreed IBF process.