ILO Minimum Wage

The shipping industry is unique in that it has a recommended global minimum wage, which is reviewed periodically by the ILO Joint Maritime Commission (JMC) in Geneva. The JMC comprises employers’ representatives co-ordinated by ICS and seafarers’ union representatives co-ordinated by ITF. 

Following the recommendation of a JMC Sub-Committee which met in April 2016, the ILO Minimum Wage for Able Seafarers will remain at US$614 basic per month until 2018 (having been increased from US$592 in January 2016 as a result of a previous JMC agreement concluded in 2014). 

Although difficult trading conditions continue, the current level of the ILO minimum wage should help to provide some stability for employers. However, ICS and ITF will be returning to Geneva in 2018 to consider possible further adjustments in the future. 

ICS is strongly committed to the principle of the ILO Minimum Wage which is now referenced in the ILO Maritime Labour Convention. While it is still only recommendatory, and is not directly relevant to other seafarer grades, it has a strong moral authority. It is particularly important for employers in developing countries and may also be relevant to other collective bargaining negotiations, including those which take place in the International Bargaining Forum (IBF). 

The ILO Minimum Wage is substantially higher than that paid for comparative work ashore in developing countries. Moreover, the total wage enjoyed by most seafarers is significantly higher once overtime hours and other mandatory payments, such as leave entitlements, are taken into account. By definition the ILO wage is a minimum. But most ratings from developing countries that serve on internationally trading ships, especially where ITF contracts apply, receive significantly higher wages than that recommended by ILO.

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