Maritime News

ITF unions campaign against "social dumping" in the North Sea

9 February 2012

Campaigners against social dumping in the North Sea*
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Campaigners against social dumping in the North Sea*

ITF-affiliated trade unions in Denmark, Norway and the UK – backed by partner unions from around the world – have launched a campaign against "social dumping" in the North Sea oil and gas industry.

The campaign, launched in Aberdeen, Scotland, on 7 February with a wreath-laying ceremony at the seafarers' memorial, raises concern about the increasing number of flag of convenience and so-called “national” registered vessels operating regularly in the North Sea. The unions say that this development dramatically reduces opportunities for traditional national seafarer jobs, "as companies employ and exploit low-cost labour from countries such as Lithuania, Latvia, India, Romania and the Philippines" – a practice known as "social dumping".

The unions are also "deeply concerned" that vessels registered in the Norwegian 1st registry are now being reflagged because of the unfair competition from other registers, and are replacing Norwegian seafarers with others on wages and working conditions far below Norwegian standards. They warn that this could result in no Norwegian seafarers being employed on offshore supply and service vessels operating in Norway.

The unions are calling for "internationally acceptable wage and working conditions for all seafarers on board vessels operating on the North Sea continental shelf, regardless of nationality."

Captain Hans Sande of the Norwegian Officers' Union said: "All we ask for is fair competition in our own waters."

The campaign is also being supported by the National Union of Seafarers of India, as well as other ITF affiliates in Croatia, France, Germany, Netherlands and Russia.




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