NMP seeks improvement in seafarers’ work condition-A A +A
Monday, September 30, 2013
THE National Maritime Polytechnic (NMP) sought to improve the working conditions of domestic seafarers in the Philippines in compliance with the global maritime labor standards.
NMP Executive Director Forter Puguon said that poor working conditions of domestic seafarers compel maritime graduates to seek overseas jobs.
“Most of our domestic seafarers have less than 10 years of sea experience and most have no license. After years of working in the country, they tend to work in international ships,” Puguon said.
In a 2011 study of NMP, a third of the domestic sailors received a monthly salary of below P12,000. Highest paid crew were from tanker ships of medium shipping firms with monthly wages ranging from P20,000 and above.
“Pay in domestic jobs is way low compared to overseas seafarer’s salary of P50,000 and above,” he added.
The official said that salaries of seafarers are not standardized, but largely based on management’s prerogative as long as it is not below the minimum wage.
“There is no standard employment agreement in the domestic shipping. The use of different employment agreements may not benefit seafarers in terms of provision of employment and social protection coverage,” Puguon said.
The study observed that promotion of opportunities for further training and education of seafarers is not practiced in domestic shipping. Educational materials are not provided on ships.
“Domestic seafarers are not motivated to study since shipping companies don’t require them,” he added.
The Department of Labor and Employment (Dole) said there are 60,000 registered domestic seafarers as of 2012, very low compared to 300,000 Filipino sailors working overseas.
In October 2012, the International Labor Organization (ILO) registered the Philippines’ ratification of the Maritime Labor Convention, 2006. ILO is a single, coherent international instrument that consolidates and updates fundamental principles and labor standards for seafarers.
Since then, the labor department, NMP’s mother agency, has been drafting regulations and proposed legislative measures to fully comply the so-called seafarers’ international bill of rights.”
The Philippines, the 30th country that ratified the MLC, is expected to enforce the maritime labor standard next month.
Puguon said the ratification will protect thousands of Filipinos employed in foreign vessels, as it will also signal compliance among ship owners in the Philippines to the standards set by the convention.
“We want the industry to be able to raise its standard, labor and ship- wise, so that it may increase its profitability and participate in the international trade,” he said. (Leyte Samar Daily Express)