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SEAFARERS’ unions and shipowners have agreed on a new three-year global minimum wage deal to safeguard financial stability for seafarers.

The maritime transport sector is reportedly the only sector with a formally recognised global minimum wage which has existed for seafarers since 1958.

The International Labour Organization convened the latest bipartite round of negotiations between shipowners and seafarers’ unions.

The shipowners’ and seafarers’ groups were co-ordinated by the International Chamber of Shipping and in the International Transport Workers’ Federation respectively.

During the previous round of talks concluded in September last year, shipowners and seafarers set the minimum wage to US$648 from 1 July 2022.

However, at the latest round of negotiations, the social partners agreed to structure the new three-year deal through annual increases of up to US$673 from 1 January 2023 to 1 January 2025.

The minimum wage will be $658 as of 1 January 2023, US$666 as of 1 January 2024 and US$673 as of 1 January 2025.

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According to the ICS and ITF, the agreement applies universally to the rating grade of Able Seafarer and is recognised as contributing to decent work and employment for seafarers.

It was driven by the recognition that seafarers’ economic wellbeing contributes to their overall wellbeing.

Mark Dickinson, Nautilus International general secretary and spokesperson for the seafarers’ group, said the group looks forward to working alongside social partners to secure seafarers’ financial security.

“Today’s agreement recognises the huge sacrifices and professionalism of the men and women working at sea and is a testament to the collective milestones the social partnership between seafarers and shipowners have historically achieved, especially over the past few years,” he said.

Shipowners group spokesperson Charles Darr said the deal benefits shipowners as well as seafarers.

“It strikes a balance between rewarding seafarers for their incredible contributions to the global economy and ensures, at the same time, that shipping companies are able to remain sustainable and commercially viable, in light of the many challenges we are currently facing and those that lie ahead.”

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