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Nautilus International has been working to help members with settlement agreements and new contracts following the collapse of a Dutch ferry company. Jelle de Boer shares a final update on the situation with Telegraph
At Nautilus’s branch in the Netherlands, we have been assisting members collectively and individually following the bankruptcy of Holland Norway Lines (HNL) in September 2023.
The company, which was founded in 2021, operated ferry services using the chartered cruise ferry MS Romantika, initially from Eemshaven in Groningen and later from Emden, Germany to Kristiansand, Norway.
Several companies have now been affected by the bankruptcy. Many European seafarers worked onboard the Romantika from various suppliers, including Marin Crew, Global Crewmanagement and Ocre. A total of 350 crew members were hired.
Many of the Marin Crew employees had chosen to work onboard Romantika because of the short sailing leave schedule of two or three weeks. Following news of the bankruptcy of HNL, they were approached by Marin about other suitable work on dry cargo ships or tankers within the MF Shipping Group. Some have found work at other shipping companies with short sailing leave schedules.
We have advised and assisted our members individually and collectively regarding the termination of employment contracts via a settlement agreement, and have also assisted them in entering new employment contracts. You must always be careful about terminating an employment contract yourself before you have a new employment contract. If you terminate an employment contract yourself, you may not be entitled to unemployment benefit.
In addition to HNL itself, Global Crew Management has also collapsed and has been declared bankrupt after postponement of payment. Eligible employees of Global Crewmanagement could submit a claim for payment due to inability to pay to the UWV (Employee Insurance Agency).
We helped our members with this process by sending newsletters with information about the application for unemployment benefits at the end of employment, and about the status of health insurance with AZVZ (a nonprofit health insurance provider for mariners in the Netherlands), the premium for which was deducted from their wages by Global Crewmanagement and paid to AZVZ. We also explained to them how to complete the income statement for the UWV.
You must always be careful about terminating an employment contract yourself, as it may mean you are not entitled to unemployment benefit
Ocre has applied for and received collective dismissal from the UWV for their employees who served on the Romantika on economic grounds. Here too, we have regularly informed our members about the termination of employment contracts, the interim termination clause, and the notice periods to be observed.
The employee and employer can also terminate the employment contract by mutual consent and record the agreements about this in an agreement (VSO). In the event of termination at the initiative of the employer, you are entitled to a transition payment.
The agreed collective bargaining agreement pay increases must also be provided retroactively from 1 January 2023. We are still in consultation with Ocre about this.
As noted in my article in the previous issue of Telegraph, Nautilus has been working hard to keep our members informed of developments, provide advice, and represent them. A situation like this really does underline why it is important to be a member of Nautilus International – in times of crisis, we can effectively promote your collective and individual interests.