Nautilus International general secretary Mark Dickinson has expressed disappointment at the failure to secure a new framework agreement to govern the pay and conditions of thousands of seafarers serving on flag of convenience ships.
But he said he remains hopeful that a settlement can be reached in the talks between the International Transport Workers' Federation (ITF) and the shipowners' Joint Negotiating Group (JNG) on a new International Bargaining Forum total crew cost agreement.
Mr Dickinson was part of the union side in the talks on 4 and 5 July 2017, which followed the opening round of discussions held in London in January 2017. Both sides confirmed their support, in principle, for the outcome of officer level interim discussions held between forums, and outlined their responses to each other's outstanding claim items.
However, it became clear that there remained concerns over some core contractual demands as well as the quantum of any wage increase. The talks therefore ended without an agreement – although it was agreed that two discussion groups will be formed to continue dialogue throughout the remainder of 2017 and to keep the lines of communication open to see if consensus can be reached between the two sides.
Commenting on the two days of difficult negotiations, Dave Heindel, chair of the ITF seafarers' section, who chaired the talks, said: 'We have made some progress, but at this stage the prospect of concluding an agreement before the current one expires looks remote. We want to keep the lines of communication open and see if we can progress matters between now and the end of the year.'
JNG chairman Masami Sasaki commented: 'This round of negotiations has turned out to be a difficult one at a time when the industry is in a challenging economic situation. However, there were commitment efforts shown by both parties. We hope to achieve a positive outcome for both parties through continued negotiation.'
Mr Dickinson added: 'I am disappointed that an agreement could not be reached. The ITF had determined that progress needed to be made on certain contractual issues. The JNG's unwillingness to embrace these proposals ultimately ensured no agreement was reached. However, being an optimist and having faith in the power of partnership. I feel that ultimately ongoing collective discussions will bear fruit.'
Being an optimist and having faith in the power of partnership. I feel that ultimately ongoing collective discussions will bear fruit