Maersk deserves praise over pandemic – ITF

The International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) has stated that Maersk should be praised for its efforts to see crew regularly changed onboard its ships through the difficulties of the present ‘crew change crisis’ caused by government border, travel and transit restrictions.

ITF praised Maersk in its statement delivered at AP Møller-Mærsk’s Annual General Meeting recently held in Copenhagen.

“Maersk has done an extraordinary job in leading the industry on crew change,” said ITF Maritime Coordinator Jacqueline Smith. “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 said the ITF worked with Maersk around the world throughout the last year on Covid-related health and safety and remuneration issues.

“Our ongoing relationship with Maersk is about us pushing each other to be the best versions of ourselves. We know that Maersk can be an even stronger global leader in shipping and transport by working with us to address areas where their local practice hasn’t matched their global commitments.”

Smith said that Maersk seriously risked its reputation among workers as a responsible corporate citizen when it chose to engage with ICTSI’s Victoria International Container Terminal (VICT) in Melbourne last year.

Smith asked why the shipping giant continues to do business with the controversial terminal company, even after unions found it to be a ‘Port of Convenience’ for undermining Australian collective agreements.

“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.”

“Maersk signed up to the UN Global Compact and its support for collective bargaining. We need to see that same commitment applied by Maersk throughout its supply chain, whether workers are directly employed with them or not.”

“We ask Maersk to uphold its values and avoid VICT until the terminal and its parent company ICTSI end their hostility to workers and our rights. We will be raising this issue with Maersk leadership in coming weeks,” said Smith.

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