India: Having failed to revise wages and disburse arrears, Shipping Corporation of India, the country’s largest shipping company, is facing agitation from about 200 seafarers who have gone on hunger strike since Saturday.
As per the National Maritime Board (India) agreement that concluded in March 2015, the company was supposed to raise wages of its seafarers by about 30%.
However, Shipping Corporation, which is a stakeholder in the shipowners association, the Indian National Shipowners Association (INSA), and is bound by agreement has not implemented the revision for more than a year now.
“The arrears haven’t been given for over a year now. So the seafarers of 16 ships of Shipping Corporation which include tanker vessels among others have gone on hunger strike,” said Abdulgani Y Serang, General Secretary-cum-Treasurer of National Union of Seafarers of India. “There has been no response from the company so far,” he added.
Meanwhile, top company officials of the tanker division were unaware of this agitation.
Shipping Corporation has a fleet of 69 vessels with significant exposure in tanker and bulk segments.
“If the company does not respond and implement wage hikes, we will look at intensifying the agitation,” said Serang.
Seafarers have started agitation on board — the SCI ships namely MV Goa, MT Swarna Godavari, Col. SP Wahi, MT Desh Gaurav, SCI Urza, MV SCI Mukta, SCI Ratna, RV Samudra Kaustubh, MT Desh Suraksha, GTV Samudra Sarvekshak, SCI Johnson.
“Other member lines of INSA have already implemented revised wages coupled with arrears, SCI has not yet implemented the same,” said Serang.
Shipping Corporation, only recently after a gap of about three years, has moved in to profits in FY15.
The National Maritime Board (India) – NMB (I) agreement – is applicable for the ratings and petty officers working on foreign going, home trade and offshore vessels of Indian flag.
The NMB (I) agreement traces its origin since 1957. It is a platform of highest level of collective bargaining mechanism to look into the workings and terms and conditions and industrial relations on board Indian flagships.
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