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Stakeholders Contribute To Maritime Labour Law Consultations

A consultation was recently held at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport headquarters in a bid to enable stakeholders to contribute to and take ownership of the maritime labour law
06 Sep 2017 11:00
Stakeholders Contribute To Maritime Labour Law Consultations
The National Maritime Labour Convention Working Committee during the industry consultations at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport headquarters . Photo: MSAF

A consultation was recently held at the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport headquarters in a bid to enable stakeholders to contribute to and take ownership of the maritime labour law in Fiji.

The National Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) Working Committee held its second round of consultations with stakeholders.

The consultations also aim to protect the welfare of seafarers.

The committee comprises of Fiji Maritime Workers Association, Fiji Ship Owners Association, Fiji Trade Union Congress, the Ministry of Productivity, Employment and Industrial Relations, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and the Maritime Safety and Authority of Fiji (MSAF).

MSAF chief executive officer John Tuinidau said the industry consultations for the draft Maritime Labour Convention 2017 was important because it allows important stakeholders to comment on the draft and provide important input on parts which needed to be changed, removed or added.

“Some of the things highlighted which were discussed by the working committee as proposed changes to implement in line with the Draft Maritime (Labour Convention) Regulations 2017, were the minimum standards towards addressing the health, safety and welfare of seafarers,”  Mr Tunidau said.

Such areas included the conditions of employment, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social protection issues.

Mr Tuinidau said the draft Maritime (Labour Convention) Regulations 2017 affected ship owners, seafarers, foreign crews, recruitment agencies, surveyors; and considers almost every aspect of work and life on-board.

This included areas such asminimum age, medical certification, qualifications of seafarers, seafarers’ employment agreements, use of licensed or regulated private recruitment and placement services,  hours of work and rest, crewing levels , accommodation, food and catering,  on-board recreational facilities, health and safety and accident prevention, on-board medical care,  on-board complaints procedures and payment of wages.

The meeting saw all parts of the convention being discussed and reviewed in detail taking into consideration the local environment.

“After the public consultations with other stakeholders, the National MLC Working Committee will prepare the final draft for submission to our line ministry for review by the Solicitor-General’s Office before the final draft is to be submitted to Cabinet for consideration,” Mr Tuinidau said.

The consolidated convention updated more than 60 earlier International Labour Organisation conventions and recommendations.

According to Mr Tuinidau, the benefits for tradesman under this consultation work will include, setting minimum requirements for seafarers to work ships – addressing conditions of employment, accommodation, recreational facilities, food and catering, health protection, medical care, welfare and social security protection.

It will also see promotion of compliance by ship-owners and give government’s sufficient flexibility to implement its requirements.

He adds, at the same time it strengthens enforcement mechanisms, including complaint procedures available to seafarers, the ship-owners’ and shipmasters’ supervision on their ships, the Flag States’ Control, and Port State Control of foreign ships.

The first consultations had highlighted the on- going processes discussing important provisions within the convention and its applicability to Fiji.

Another round of industry consultations is set to be held on September 12 to 14.

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