Labor Disputes of seaman.
Labor disputes onboard the merchant may arise all of a sudden with out any disputes. All the company going bankrupt can be spotted by delay of monthly salary payment, salary allotment cancellation, reduction in provision are some of the signs of the shipping companies' financial problems.
Seaman jobs onboard ships take merchant ship officers and crew members to far away lands where they don't know people or can't speak or understand the local languages. This is a big disadvantage for the international seaman when they are in labour disputes. If a seaman or ship officer is injured or left behind by the ship or labor disputes arises onboard may land him in big trouble, where he may face a very bad situation. Finding medical assistance or a shelter and food are big task for them.
In these cases you must contact your local ship agent for help. If they hesitate to support you then you can try the harbor master, nearest seafarer's centre or the local port authority or the local police or your local consular office. If there is no consular office of your own country you can find out which country consular office is looking after the interest of your country citizen.
In case of labor disputes a merchant mariner's first choice of contact must be with the Harbor master and the local port or transport workers union.
International Transport workers federation too can be approached in case of labor disputes and they give preference to their members first. As a seaman you must become as a member of this seaman union. But some shipping companies don't like seaman with ITF membership. Also in the case of labor disputes you can contact a local maritime law firm. First of all you must of their charges as they may charge 10% to 30% of your total due and also they may charge special rate for when they claim additional money according to law. The cases if goes to the court may drag to years so it is better to get the available money in hand and leave the ship. There are many crook Inspectors and lawyers there to cheat your money and share it with the ship owners secretly.
Here is the notice which ITF has issued to the international seaman.
The ITF is here to help you. Help us to help you by having the following information available when contacting the ITF or leaving a message on an inspector's voice mail/answer machine:
Have the name of the ship (IMO number if known), flag and its whereabouts i.e. name of the port and number of pier
Next port of call in the event that the inspector is unavailable when the ship arrives
Your complaint (e.g. if you have not received your wages)
The number of crew on board and, wherever possible, try and contact the ITF before the ship arrives in the port. This will enable the ITF inspectors to be more prepared to deal with your case.
Our advice to all merchant seaman,
when you are in labor dispute never try to end up in court as it will drag for years and when you get your money you have to pay for the lawyer's commission and on the other hand the value - the buying power - of your money too would have been gone down due to the rising inflation all over the world.