Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) National Secretary and International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) President Paddy Crumlin today applauded the passage of legislation that gives statutory effect to the International Labour Organisation's (ILO) Maritime Labour Convention.
Passage of the legislation should ensure that Australia will be the 19th among the 30 countries which are required to ratify the laws to ensure the MLC comes into force globally by 2012-13.
Mr Crumlin said the coming into force of the Maritime Labour Convention will be an outstanding achievement in international relations and will support the future of the global shipping industry.
"The Maritime Labour Convention ensures thatseafarers have their human and labour rights recognized alongside existing standards of safety, security and crew standards," Mr Crumlin said.
"By lifting international minimum standards, the MLC promotes fair and decent work, with more than half the world's seafarers now covered by ratifying nations."
The MLC sets standards for:
· minimum requirements for seafarers to work on a ship;
· conditions of employment;
· accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering;
· health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection; and
· compliance and enforcement.
Although the Convention will target the sub-standard labour conditions on many international ships, it will also provide a valuable boost to Australian shipping and complements Australian shipping reform.
"The introduction of the Maritime Labour Convention is part of the Gillard Labor Government's ongoing commitment to restoring our capacity to participate in the shipping trade," Mr Crumlin said.
"With the passage of the MLC, labour conditions will be protected for all workers and policed by Australian authorities in our ports."
Mr Crumlin also highlighted the importance of the MLC in fighting the ITF's 'Flag of Convenience' campaign.
"The convention will address the worst features of the FOC system by codifying international safety standards, human rights, trade union rights and labour standards," Mr Crumlin said.