ITF Wins Double Pay For Exploited Guestworkers

Crew on Panamanian flagged vessel win wage justice after ITF blitz in Adelaide

After intervention by the International Transport Workers Federation aboard the Panamanian-flagged Kumano Lilly bulk carrier at the Port of Adelaide, the Burmese and Filipino crew will see their rockbottom wages doubled.

"This is a major victory for the crew who were being paid paltry wages - on par or below the International Labor Organisation (ILO) rate of around $US930 a month. One cadet who spoke to us said he was receiving just $US300 a month which is despicable", said Matt Purcell, ITF assistant coordinator in Australia.

"In this situation a crew is intimidated. They need their jobs and are often too scared to speak out and need someone representing them", said Purcell.

As part of an ITF offensive on so-called Flag of Convenience bulk carriers operating on the Australian coast, we were alerted to the fact that the vessel was carrying a substandard agreement with a union not recognized by the ITF and it's affiliates.

The ship was loading bulk cargo for the charterer XTX and was set to sail to Devonport.

"A team of 12 ITF officials boarded the ship this morning and demanded to see the ship's paperwork. The captain and Japanese owners Sanko subsequently agreed to sign an agreement with ITF affiliate, the Japanese Seamen's Union.

The owner will sign an agreement which will give the crew the comfort of a minimum ITF wage. 

"Adelaide was the fourth port of call for this vessel, operating for a month on a single voyage permit granted by the Department of Transport and previously the captain had refused to depart with the ship's paperwork", said Purcell.  

"The ITF affiliation worldwide is vital to ensuring the future of Australian shipping which cannot compete with Flag of Convenience Vessels operating up and down the Australian coast paying crew third world wages. The conditions imposed on crew to maintain shipper's profits can be atrocious ", Purcell said.

Media Contact: Matt Purcell ITF 0418 387966

Michael Meagher: 0410 482367