Labor union ‘pleased’ with Maersk over handling of the crew change crisis

Source: Maersk.

An international labor union representing seafarers and transit laborers announced that they are happy with how the world’s largest containership line has responded to the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing global crew change crisis.

By Michael McGrady, Maritime Direct Americas & Pacific Correspondent

LONDON — The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) endorsed how AP Moller-Maersk has responded to the pandemic and the crew change crisis that is still putting an unprecedented humanitarian and economic strain on the global supply chain.

“Maersk has done an extraordinary job in leading the industry on crew change,” said Jacqueline Smith, ITF’s maritime coordinator, in a press statement.

“While we’ve had a world of trouble with some charterers and the less scrupulous shipping companies passing the buck and refusing to help pay to end seafarers’ suffering, AP Møller-Mærsk stepped up and has shown regular crew change can be done,” Smith added.

The union voiced its statement at an annual general meeting held by Maersk in Copenhagen. The union represents crews and dock workers and said that the billion-dollar boxship enterprise had done well to look out for the well-being and safety of its seafarers.

“The industry is now faced with the rollout of vaccinations, so the continued efforts by Maersk to find a way that keeps the industry moving and seafarers’ welfare protected will be very much valued,” said the union’s general statement.

ITF, however, did criticize Maersk for how the company approached collective bargaining agreements for seafarers and dockworkers at facilities in Australia.

“Maersk traditionally has good policies on paper, and in the expectations, it sets out for its suppliers, so we are surprised that the company seems to have developed a blindspot when it comes to upholding collective bargaining at Australia’s most aggressively anti-union container terminal,” the union said.

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