1 February 2013 – As Malta became the 34th International Labour Organization member state to ratify the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) 2006 on 23 January, the ITF has cautiously approved the progress made across the shipping world to prepare for the convention’s all-important coming into force in August.
The ITF believes that the legislation, the first worldwide bill of rights for seafarers, can make a positive difference to everyone serving at sea, irrespective of their nationality or the flag of their ship. It will include the potential to stop blacklisting and charging for jobs by some manning agents; the recognition of all crew – including hospitality crew on cruise ships – as seafarers, so that they will all get the same protections; enhanced checks by port state control, including of pay problems such as double book-keeping; and the establishment of welfare facilities in ports, and of on-ship safety committees.
Dave Heindel, chair of the ITF seafarers’ section, commented: “The ITF has been involved from the birth of the MLC and so it’s only right that we ensure that we and our fellow trade unions are making all necessary efforts to help it achieve the success it deserves. For us that has meant rigorous monitoring and projects to explain and support the legislation in action – for example in the way we work together with port state control. The results of that monitoring suggest that satisfactory progress is being made by the majority of organisations and companies to prepare for August.”
The MLC’s entry into force will be the culmination of over 10 years of collective effort by the ILO, the ITF, representing seafarers and their unions, and the ISF (International Shipping Federation), representing employers. It is regarded as the fourth pillar of shipping regulation, alongside Solas, Marpol and the STCW, and is intended to be strictly enforced by flag states and port state control. For more information on how the MLC will positively affect seafarers see. The ILO’s website on the MLC can be seen here.