The Philippines’ estimated 380,000 seafarers have much to cheer about as the International Bargaining Forum (IBF), International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) have reached the final agreement regarding the pay hike of sailors serving in the international merchant marine fleet.
The conclusion, which has been hard fought by both sides, resulted in a three-year deal being applied to all IBF agreements with effect from next year and includes an incremental pay over the three-year period.
The IBF said that a 2.0 percent increase will be applied on January 1, 2012, followed by a 2.5 percent increment on January 1, 2013 and the final 3.0 percent hike on January 1, 2014.
Filipino seafarers starting their oceangoing career are paid a minimum of US$ 2,000 a month while officers, depending on their level of specialization and experience, have salary ranging from US$ 5,000 to US$ 10,000 monthly.
Under the terms of a new methodology as agreed upon between the parties during 2010, the percentage increase will be applied to an element which includes both pay and union funding. However, the specifics of the application of the increases between officers and rating categories and funding elements, will be decided at local negotiations between individual union affiliates and the employers.
Further, cost items agreed upon during the negotiations include the introduction of an incentive increase in ITF Welfare Fund rebates to the IBF of an additional five percent, on top of the current five percent, if the number of vessels being covered under IBF agreements increases year on year by two percent, two percent and one percent during the years 2012 to 2014, respectively.
Aside from cost issues, the parties to the IBF spent considerable time discussing specific amendments to the articles of the IBF collective bargaining agreement that included such items as changes to the period that is defined as probationary when a seafarer commences his or her first term of employment with a company and references to the ILO Maritime Labor Convention.