- By Chezhian Vaiz May 01, 2020
At a time when seafarers are keeping the world moving, COVID-19 cannot be used as an excuse to lower the wage and working conditions of the seafarers.
International Transport workers’ Federation (ITF) said in a statement that “During this pandemic, seafarers continue to work selflessly in order to ensure that vital goods and passengers are transported, in spite of the risks of contracting COVID-19. Despite the vital role that seafarers play, some companies are seeking to use the pandemic as an excuse to undermine the national standards in the industry including replacing the existing crews on international terms and conditions which are substantially lower than national conditions.”
The statement further said “The pandemic cannot be used as an excuse for Ship owners, Managers, or Crewing agencies to dismiss their obligation to protect local jobs, local conditions or health, safety and economic standards in an industry for any work- especially for key workers including seafarers. Regardless of the nationality of seafarers, they deserve the national terms and conditions applicable in national trade.”
In the United Kingdom, multiple companies, including Condor Ferries, Stena Line and P&O Ferries have laid off seafarers and forced seafarers to choose between taking unpaid leave or being furloughed. In Canada, BC Ferries is operating their routes with less crew.